Skiffington’s intricately rendered paintings begin with a gestural wash from which a final image is slowly brought into focus mark by mark. Working wet into wet with an unfixed and shifting criteria for resolution, each work develops within a single studio session until a novel composition is revealed that shows some new occurrence within the painting. In fact, many of the paintings take their names from these emergent actions, Clamber, Furl, Echo, Bend, but unlike the action paintings of the last century, here there is no trace of the artist’s hand. Instead, each new layer merges with those that preceded it, forming a flat, even surface within which individual parts or passages cannot be separated from their whole.
Shared with the gestural abstraction of the 50s and 60s however is the performance of the painter at her canvas, conducting multiple, moving parts within a single event. Likewise, a reluctance to assign language beyond a single verbal descriptor demands of the viewer a frontal viewing with no linguistic mooring. Without a stated ends to work toward the paintings instead revel in their means, singular and unrepeatable in their force and individual affect.