It’s worth reading this article if you eat food.
Beautiful Dystopias Collection
Wall based sculpture – part of the Book of Revelations Series (see below).
Materials: old gilt frame, found feathers, resin
Tension between our greed for oil and the impact this has on wildlife is evoked in Obsession. Fauna is metaphorically represented through the reference to seabirds dying from oil slicks, abstracted by submerging found feathers in black resin, captured within an old gilt frame. The black resin forms pools of glistening liquid mimicking oil.
This new work has been revealed at Mill Yard Studios ‘Small’ exhibition – on till 22 December. Find the gallery in Staveley, Cumbria, UK. Open Thursday to Sunday 11- 4
Developments of this work can be found on blog posts 14 August and 6 September.
Book of Revelations Series 2012-13
A series of wall based sculptures.
The work silently contemplates a fractured reality: the relationship between contaminated environs and the anthropocentric compass – a dishevelled mourning. The peeling layers invite a meditation on the narrative exposed, whilst the found objects transpose and complicate the space from painting towards sculpture – settling in neither. The brooding degradation is juxtaposed against the unsettling extravagance of the golden frame.
Our view is framed. The duality of being is that we seek the security of frameworks in our lives whilst remaining curious about the wider world. Science and art informs and nurtures our quest for expansion to the physical and metaphysical worlds we inhabit. The magnitude and monumental narrative of the planet ignite wonder yet conversely endow a sense of insignificance to mortal man.
Harnessing the redundant golden frame as a symbolic border, one that demarcates the contents as worthy of being luxuriously wrapped, the sculptures present artefacts dislodged from our focus of possession. The discarded, retrieved and redefined objects are imbued with metaphor and meaning.
The damaged frame, holding fragmented spaces whilst clinging to the precious cargo, defies the loss and reveres its ostentatious past. Metaphorically, the frame highlights the paradoxical interconnectedness between destruction and renewal, past and present, consumption and disposal. The fractured structure signals the frailty of the framework as an illusion of security.
A lush green, velvet carpet is draped over the Earth and with the increase in the planet’s temperatures this verdant cover is growing. Higher temperatures, more carbon dioxide and more rainfall is stimulating photosynthesis and creating a proliferation of plants – scientists call this process ‘CO2 fertilisation effect’. There is debate over the exact cause of this verdant spread and if it can counter consequences of global warming.
From a layman’s viewpoint this sounds great news – more plants – more beauty – more food – healthier air and so on – may be the planet warming isn’t so bad after all????
Photograph taken in Dujiangyan, China 2013
Titling work forms the portal for others to step inside and explore the possibilities of what the work may be about – so why do some artists elect to not endow a title?
My own viewpoint is that up until the point of titling the work it is a gift for myself – created in my attempts to understand the world in all its fractured states. From that point it becomes an invitation to others where balancing the combination of intrigue and wonder demands insightful reflection of the issue I am addressing in the work, but also a love of words. The titles aim to have an oblique potency that act as a catalyst for igniting debate, so selecting a title to engender this is a preoccupation.
Collaborating with scientists is the main focus of my own work – together we investigate the notion of ‘manscape’ – humanity’s illusion of the naturalness of the environment, hence the titling sometimes becomes laced with scientific referencing, as in Atomic Equilibrium and Bio Myopia. The tension between approaches, objective scientific verses subjective artistic, the latter further skewed by emotional and philosophical underwriting, delivers titled gateways that appear off-kilter as in Beautiful Dystopias. The title evokes a collection of work where the relationship between contaminated environs and the anthropocentric compass is examined.
I recently finished writing my second reference book about sculpture (The Language of Mixed-Media Sculpture will be published next spring) and found that from a global perspective most sculptors I researched proffered titles for their works. I am interested to hear from a range of sculptors, those who do and those who do not title their work, about their reasoning behind their decision and the type of titles they chose.
Please join this debate.
I am currently reading The Rainbow and the Worm written by Mae-Wan Ho
(at the suggestion of blogger Celia Wilson) to attempt a basic understanding of the physics of organisms.
“Science is an adventure of the free and enquiring spirit that thrives not so much on answers as unanswered questions. It is the mysteries, the enigmas and paradoxes that take hold of the imagination, leading it on the most exquisite dance.”
The same statement could be made about much contemporary art and therefore it seems an appropriate read on my way to meet microbiologist and artist Dr Simon Park at the University of Surrey. I have been fortunate to receive a New Collaboration Bursary from A-N to explore the potential of working with Dr Park on a new project that combines art and science.
My approach embraces the cohabitation of art and science and how this relationship enriches both my artwork and a wider understanding of the world. The gaps and the differences in our experiences deliver fractured realities that profile the earth as an enigma. To try and unravel this mystery I research and collaborate with specialists from other disciplines including scientists and geographers when the tension between approaches, objective scientific verses subjective artistic, the latter further skewed by emotional and philosophical underwriting, creates dynamic outcomes that ignite curiosity and debate.
Together, both disciplines aim to capture an appreciation of the less visible imprints but as free spirits the way ahead is unknown.
Photographs: Top – research inspiration
Others – sculpture Atomic Equilibrium
Atomic Equilibrium 2013
Everything is made of atoms – finding the balance – an eternal quest
Dimensions: 20 x 36 x 16 cm
Materials: old wooden picture frame, found discarded door lock, hand forged nail