Interview with Perdita Sinclair: Grasping the ‘Atmosphere’

Interview with Perdita Sinclair: Grasping the ‘Atmosphere’

“To make a piece of art I have to strongly imagine the atmosphere of the piece before and during its creation. I also need to have a good idea about what I want to say.”

By Rise Art | 06 Feb 2023

Perdita Sinclair has recently joined the platform, bringing her huge variety of works to the platform. The artist explores concepts of stories via paintings, sculpture, film, and site-specific installations that challenge our perception of the everyday. Fusing the natural world with artificial materials, the polemic and the joyful, Perdita reveals the hidden systems and alternate realities that shape our daily life.

Claiming What’s Mine, 2022, oil on canvs, 80 x 60cm


How would you describe your artistic style?

It is hard to succinctly describe my work in terms of style. My work is such a mix of things that It can’t easily be put one or even two boxes.


What messages or themes do you want to communicate with your work?

To make a piece of art I have to strongly imagine the atmosphere of the piece before and during its creation. I also need to have a good idea about what I want to say. This ‘atmosphere’ can be a slippery fish to grasp, though, because sometimes a painting will want to create its own atmosphere and travel to its own places. It is all rather subconscious, so it is hard to say which bits of what I have felt and experienced are communicated to the viewer.

Preparations For the Glitter Path, 2022, oil on canvas, 80 x 60cm

My work is interested in climate change and merging of synthetic and organic matter/human-made and natural. I never want to preach about climate change but rather to be curious about what our world is currently made up of. 

Seeing a buoy out to sea disrupts this natural expanse by being a solid in a mass of water that is deliberately brightly coloured. Like a bee attracted to a flower, I am interested humans’ attraction of synthetic objects, particularly when they are placed in a natural environment in order to communicate. I use these synthetic oasis’ as a microclimate for my imagination, a place where I can bring together my research on a range a scientific topic, day to day influences and emotions.

Keeping it Human, 2022, oil on canvas, 100 x 80cm


How has your practice evolved over the years? Have you always worked in an abstract style?

I started out making figurative work as a way of understanding the human experience through the lines of the body. The point was never to be a figurative artist but to understand being alive in my own body. Through this work I experimented with portraiture and subsequently exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery. 

In 2015/16, I conducted two residencies on Human Dissection Courses with Functional Anatomy. These residencies helped me realise that I was far more interested in painting and exploring what was on the inside than the outside. This approach is taken forward in a wider sense to the work that I make today which includes sculpture, installation and film.

Black Hole Sundae, 2019, oil and spray paint on canvas, 100 x 80cm


What’s an average day like in your studio? 

On a good day I will get into the studio at about 8am, change into my overalls, put the kettle on and sit and look at the piece that I am working on. Taking time to step back from the work is important throughout the day in order to clear my vision and increase my focus. I always go into the studio with a focus of what I need to achieve for deadlines and what I want to achieve for my work. The time always passes very quickly and there is always so much more that I want to get done.

Perdita’s studio and one of her faithful companions (@perditasinclair)


What/who are your key influences?

My influences as diverse and eclectic. I have spent the summer swimming out to buoys with a water proof camera and have also brought some second-hand ones online. I follow a lot of great artists and galleries on social media and get up to London and elsewhere to see exhibitions as often as I can.

That Wasn’t What I Meant to Say, 2022, oil on canvas, 80 x 60cm


Who are some Rise Art artists with work you’re enjoying at the moment?

I am really enjoying the work of Sarah Emily Porter and Maggie Jiang at the moment.

The Night Watch, 2022, oil on canvas, 175 x 125cm

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