Artist Khin Myint returns to the Radlett Centre with Untrampled Flowers 2, a vibrant exhibition to chase away the chills. MELANIE DAKIN reports
Flowers in winter
As far as Burmese painter Khin Myint Is concerned, art is a destination, where the journey itself is as important as where you start from and where you end up. In the transition from idea to artwork, there are many possibilities and these should be freed to allow the creative process to flow.
"I start on several pieces and then go back to them," Khin explains.
"You may start something and have an idea about what it will be in the end, but then, if you stop and see where itís heading, you might find it's going in a totally different direction from what you first envisaged.
"I have made pieces where the result has been very different to what I had imagined, which creates a real excitement as I work.
"The mental block that a writer gets can also occur with an artist. You might sit for a whole day and wait for something to come and the next day wake up with a load of ideas flooding in at once. I have to write it all down, but also I like to start a number of projects and watch them develop over time."
Khin uses mixed media, mainly working with hessian strings and weaves, to build paintings suffused with warmth and light. Using colours that are close to nature, the paintings take on the quality of earth and sky, reflecting the seasons and the elements.
"I have a small studio in Rickmansworth and I enjoy taking walks in the countryside around the Aquadrome, just a few minutes away from where I live. It is very quiet there and the seasons are very distinct and beautiful. Itís so dry in winter and yet thereís a misty feel to it."
Coming from Burma, Khin acknowledges the way in which her art has developed through her own travels as well.
"There are elements from the ancient culture of hand-woven wall-hangings from Burma that have influenced my style. In Burma, hessian sacks are used to store rice, onions or vegetables.
Copyright ® KHIN MYINT 2012
"It has a rough quality to it, but because of its weave I can create in 3D.
"People can paint by layering colours, but hessian allows you to create structura1forms. It lifts up the whole project. I use different weights of hessian and some looser weaves in order to manoeuvre the fabric into shape."
When Khin came to the UK a few years ago she spent time in the London galleries, looking at impressionistic paintings. Prior to this her art was more fine-art-based.
"In Burma they donít like very modern art. They like to see realism. I used to work with aluminium wires and make clay and bronze sculptures. I was more limited in what I could do in Burma. Each time I wanted to hold an exhibition it would have to go before a committee. They would come and inspect the paintings and if they did not like them they could refuse to grant a certificate to exhibit the work.
"They would scrutinize each painting in turn and the artist would have to follow them around and explain the meaning of each painting. They would grill them on abstract shapes and the use of colour."
Khin's travels in Europe, to Greece, Italy and France and also diving in the Maldives, have resulted in 15 works in pen and wash that form part of the exhibition.
"My work has evolved into ideas that come from the mind rather than reality. Recently I have been learning to dive because of my husbandís work and it lent another dimension to what I do. The quietness of the underwater world and the ability to see things at such close range, the vibrancy of the colours and the clarity of the water, the texture of the corals, all of these things have an influence on my work.
"I feel a connection with living things under the ocean that canít be conveyed through looking at photographs. This is one of the things I want to convey in my paintings."
Untrampled Flowers 2 is at The Radlett Centre, Radlett, until the end of the year. For more information about Khin's work, log onto her website www.khinmyint.co.uk