:Pum

Pum is a painter and collagist. She studied her undergraduate degree in Philosophy at Glasgow University and has a Masters in Research in Creative Practices from Glasgow School of Art. She makes use of the creative process as a research method.

Collage as a method is a daily occurrence for Pum – a wakeful dreaming where she processes thoughts and feelings – and a particularly apposite medium for her, as an individual with autism. It plays an integral part in her ability to manage her condition and suits her preference for handling discrete details, which she artfully selects from a profusion of image sources. She obsessively gathers fragments, which become the syntax and vocabulary for her attempts to articulate visually what she cannot make sense of cognitively or socially.

She is constantly inspired to make work which seeks to express the invisible processes involved in establishing a sense of self - a self expressed as a fragmented plurality. She is fascinated by the psychological aspects of human relationships and this has led her to develop a comprehensive understanding of psychoanalysis and its modern day relatives.

"I believe the art making process is the product of our human organic intelligence, it is therefore both emotional and imaginative and most essentially, it is communicative. Art presents us with encoded symbols, visual metaphors and forms of perceptual thinking that can evoke responses deep in the psyche. An image or object can simultaneously hold and communicate different meanings on various levels of consciousness offering a flexible and fluid interchange of ideas with the constant potential for movement of meanings and interpretation."

The creative process allows Pum to transform her dominant and often, she feels, overbearing analytical, logical and literal thinking style into the imagic - a realm where visual metaphor can infuse and pollinate understandings and create new interpretations and perspectives. This is, to her, transference akin to alchemy, where the abstract idea becomes a concrete and literal object and collage material can come to embody the abstract. Ideas and objects, the literal and the metaphorical, interchange and forge a relationship between the two domains and this bridging allows the individual with autism to communicate with her self and with other.

As Pum additionally states “Collage, for me, is complex art – an art of making up and adeptly assembling parts into a whole and a compounded creation which represents my often humorous understandings and interpretations of the world. The technique of collage allows me to think visually, from the part to the whole. The process offers me a kind of prosthetic insight – a way into understanding  abstract concepts  by engaging in a process of shifting, sorting, and creatively placing aesthetically spaced fragments of visual information. My mind can solve the visual relationship between the parts and the whole and, in doing so, there is a convergence of concrete material and abstract idea.

Pum was artist in residence at Project Ability in Glasgow from August 2010 to August 2011. As part of her residency, Pum invited six people with autistic spectrum condition to participate in a ten week research project examining creative practice in relation to a sense of self. The research was published as a book titled, Creative Praxis: Portraits & Dialogues from the sensory Inter/face of Autism.

She has exhibited extensively, including a solo exhibition at the Collins Gallery, Glasgow, in April 2010 and solo exhibition at Trongate 103 Glasgow in May 2011 .

Individual Art for Individual People