I am an artist living in London, working in London and elsewhere. I work mainly with drawing, photography, text, books and installation. My interests include taxonomy, peripheral space – in the world and mind, and how being alive here and now affects our ability to interpret ourselves and the places around us.
Following are attempts to understand my practice in more detail. They are incomplete, probably contradictory and certainly incoherent when taken together. They were written at different times for different purposes but may shed a little light on my reasons for making and showing my work.
Sometimes I think that in the far distance I can see the beginning of my art practice. I can see the window I just can’t see what’s through it. Things happen, work is made from time to time, objects and ideas are loosely connected. Sometimes something breaks off and sometimes it is gathered up elsewhere. There is structure but it comes from within, and is not clearly discernible when viewed from a distance. So any statement is a statement of failure, it is broken into pieces which may be irreparable.
The world is everywhere but art is in boxes. The boxes are frames, screens, pages, galleries, even boxes. I have collections of things in boxes. The work is to arrange the boxes to produce meaning. This can emerge from the connections between the things in the boxes and from the connections between the boxes themselves; when it’s really working it emerges from both.
Stairwells and Facades
Growing up in a new town in the 1960s and 70s the whole world was modern. This was the future, now. But time has passed and buildings from that era are neglected, despised and frequently demolished. The stairwell and facade pictures are attempts to document recollections of an abandoned future.
A clear view is difficult to find and the pictures are pieced together from different source photographs. Close examination reveals evidence of this process in sharper and softer areas, impossible repeats of reflections, minute anomalies in perspective and the faint traces of joins. In their transformation to two dimensions buildings become thin, fragile, almost transparent. The pictures are printed as giclees onto German etching paper and at first sight they resemble watercolours. The ambiguity of the surface momentarily delays recognition in the viewer’s mind, creating a space, a state of evenly suspended attention, where their own memories can populate the image.
We may seek contemplation and clarity in our lives, but so long as we exist as vulnerable bodies thrown into an unpredictable world, confusion and obscurity will threaten to overwhelm us. Happenings beyond our control, be they wonderful beyond belief, funny, disappointing or deeply painful, inspire the movement of pencil across paper, a spot of ink or pigment is an action of response. It’s hard to see where the results fit, but they want to be seen.
Somewhere between contemplation and noise lies the psychological territory I know as Side Country. It’s physical location is similarly liminal: behind the shed, between paving slabs, round the outskirts of our towns and cities, under the white bits on our maps.