My Current Body of Work
Traditionally my sculpture & painting has explored a personal investigation of the unseen, overlooked or abandoned fabric of contemporary urban structure – the concept of order, structure, control and the antithesis of nature, decay & organic expression – there is a strange beauty in an abstract form/structure industrially man-made, intended for use or function but when deemed redundant is abandoned, inexorably destroyed by the ravages of time. The main reasons for abandonment (buildings/structures) includes economic collapse, natural disaster, drought & famine, disease &/or contamination, natural resource depletion, war/massacre, & man-made disaster. I have been thinking a lot about the human response to these events and the overwhelming and damaging impact of trauma.
“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science”
More recently the work has echoed autobiographical events and as a direct result the work has taken a new visual and aesthetic direction. Two years ago following the birth of my first child I was critically ill with sepsis then diagnosed with cancer. I was fascinated at the time in the complex science and research behind the medical treatment I received. Two years on I feel that I am ready to analyse this uniquely terrifying, mysterious yet scientific experience in my work and practise, my intention is to investigate this concept through my art.
I believe that art & science are closely related & are human attempts to understand and describe the world around us. Traditionally the intended audiences are different as are the subjects & methods, but fundamentally I think the motivations & goals are the same. I think one of the most primitive innate needs of humans is to understand the world around us, and then share that understanding. Art and science can enable each other to deepen their respective expressions of reality.
Formally, the vessels are constructed using slabs of clay draped over an internal steel structure, pieced and stitched together. As the clay shrinks onto the metal frame it begins to wrap, chip & crack reminiscent of ‘concrete cancer’ a term used in the building industry. As the steel reinforcement start to rust, it expands causing cracking and displacement of the surrounding concrete, accelerating the process of disrepair. There are many examples of large scale concrete boulders with exposed metal rebar in abandoned structures, demolition sites and disaster zones. I relish the challenge to explore this idea and process in clay as it breaks many of the traditional rules of ceramics. The metal substrates and mesh are used to intentionally encourage the clay to crack. The work is then fired in the kiln and is coloured using underglaze, glaze and other materials if appropriate.
Both the form and & surface of these architectural/human rubble structures represent my abstract expressionist response and personal & humanitarian interpretation of human, physical & material trauma.