that supposed to be then?".....I'm sure it's the question every artist
dreads; there's never an easy answer, and often it changes over time. I
wish I could just say oh, its all quite simple really.., and tell
you all about it. But I cant. For me, thats maybe the whole point
of visual art - to say something beyond words. If I could just tell you about
it I wouldn't have to make it, Id write a book.
So why all these words?....what this writing is for is to try to get you to a mental viewpoint from where I would like you to look at my work. My aesthetic True North. Perhaps I could just write think maps, bodies, fossils, relics, fragments; think containment, time and process. But theres more....
... the history of
it is in my first work. This was with ceramics where I created organic
pod shapes: shapes arising partly from the nature of the material pushing in
that direction, and partly from an urge to capture a particular stage in the
evolution of the pod-form that suggests where it was begun and where it will
end. ( Like a certain point in life where you can see in your face how you looked
when you were young, and how you will look when you are old ).
I see pod forms as an archetypal body, utterly self-contained, and a model of individuality and identity. Seed pods are capsules of a past made to hold a future, capturing a present moment which implies all the other moments, past and future. Seed pods are perfect symbols of this moment, containing as they do the whole life cycle of the plant that formed it, and the life cycle of that which it wiII become. Seeds within the pod are pure potential.
Inherent in pod shapes is the idea of containment, they are sealed vessels. This notion of containment and the relationship between a container and its content lies behind much of my work. The effects of internal and external processes on the archetypal body and how the integrity of the individual is maintained in a dynamic world -a theme of body, identity and individuality - is central to my work.
Certain isolated features of a pod often evoked the whole, as with a still frame from a film, or a line from a favourite song. Small things, fragments, imply a greater whole. Maps too can be perceived in this way - like a page taken from the diary of a landscape. With the wallpieces there is a clear visual relationship with contours and maps. This has taken me in a new direction as I have become more interested in layers and the interaction between them, how one layer partly determines, or contains, the next.
A geographical map shows only a fixed moment in the process of the evolution of a landscape. It shows only a fragment of the world, yet implies the existence of something more beyond its borders. Similarly fossils imply the myriad events and the vast processes that have led to their existence and subsequent discovery. In this way they are event maps.
Viewed in a similar way, landscape itself can be seen as a huge event map, implying the events and processes that have given rise to its features. Landscape, maps and fossils contain implied processes,and in this way the relationship between container (landscape/ fossil/ map) and contents (the implicit processes) is again a strong theme. These relationships are dynamic and the associated themes of process and change lie at the heart of my work. Cast-off shells, skeletons, landscapes, seed pods, maps and fossils are all relics of these processes and suggestions of these forms can be seen in much of my sculpture.
Any object can be viewed as an event map of the processes behind its existence - the processes themselves being as important as the object. Hence my work contains many visual references to a revealing decay that exposes hidden layers. Decay tells a more interesting story than pristine longevity. The scratches on a table, the mud on my shoes, the scars in my skin, the worn edges of a stair tread, all tell of events beyond the object itself. This is why I like to oxidise the surface of steel: it suggests age and process, and a future of further change. Molecule by molecule the oxidisation process marches on in its own free way, giving the steel its own internal independent destiny. Thinking of these oxidised sculptures as event maps I feel like I have set them free to develop their own identity, like some Pygmalion or Frankenstein. I enjoy the paradox that it is decay that gives them this life, gives them the potential to become something new. Which brings me full circle back to seeds....
So are you thinking
maps, bodies, fossils, relics, fragments? containment, time and process? seeds
... maybe its all a cheat anyway, trying to tell you what to think. I'd like you to enjoy my work from your own perspective, your own aesthetic True North. But I hope what I have written enhances your experience, and we maybe share a compass point.