Thread. 5cms x 5cms x 5cms,
This work was part of a week long field trip celebrating new open access laws. This piece uses thread to traverse a new open access piece of land which was then wound into a ball creating a different spatial measurement for the area. The title of the work indicates the grid reference of the location.
5 white canvases, linseed oil. Size: 3m. X 5cms.
Five canvases placed end to end, each impregnated with a line of linseed oil. Initially, the viewer sees nothing but gradually the smell of the oil penetrates. The sense of smell is often associated with earlier experiences and the viewer can form their own pictures from this sense. It can transport the viewer to different times and make amore powerful image to one that has been painted. The gap between seeing and smelling, smelling and visualizing is one of realization.
Brush, string. Size: 30cms. X 1.2m
The notion of taking a functional object and subverting it, rendering it useless is enormously appealing to me. I understand there is an element of childishness to it but sometimes, it works just perfectly. There is no underlying philosophy or hidden meaning just pure childlike joy at the subversion.
Funeral plaque, clay, pigeon faeces, factory detritus, wallpaper. 50cms. x 30cms. x 1cm.
This work was undertaken as part of an AirSpace/MA residency in Stoke-on-Trent. Mixing detritus from an abandoned ceramics factory with pigeon faeces and clay, existing moulds were used to create a multiple image for the found funeral plaque. These were hung on wallpaper samples. It was a site-specific response that encompassed what were to become important concepts with regard to my doctoral thesis.
Performance, documented by images.
Temporarily taking over someone else’s living space while they are absent, I have found myself, quite literally, in their shoes. The confusion starts on the outside but creeps inwards until I’m not sure whose thoughts are whose. It is a private performance documented in snapshots, the subtexts of ‘me and her’.
Transplanting myself to another person’s space, sleeping in her bed, with her sheets, cooking in her kitchen with her pots, using her toilet and sometimes wearing her clothes whilst sitting at her desk and answering her phone and collecting her mail. Sometimes I have tried to smile like her who I have only met for two hours, this fleeting image remains. The dislocation of self submerging one’s identity into that of another.
Self-contained lights, cable ties
This installation formed part of the event Up the Wall. and consisted of a light trail of 22 lights that stretched the length of the designated area of Chester walls. I spent much time walking the route to choose aspects that appeared to have either a particular craftsmanship such as the beam under a curved wooden handrail or had historical interest such as a deep crevice in the wall which maybe had not been noticed for many years. Others had no significance at all. To me these were the most important sites. Lights that were just there, illuminating nothing in particular, had a resonance of their own. It attracted the curiosity of viewers who were not sure whether they were missing something. Some of the lights flashed, such as the obvious one of lighting up the sign that denoted the trail which showed a flame symbol whilst others were static or had a limited life span and so changed throughout the evening. The lights were not all immediately visible. This image shows the highlighting of a clump of grass growing out of a ruined gateway.
The notion of illumination used ideas of space and place, where one ends and the other begins if there is such a definite parameter. Lighting up a space creates its own borders and perimeters that could change the space to a place. Whilst social usage is often sited as the consideration for change, there are environmental, political and psychological factors to be considered in looking at the cross-over between space and place. However during this installation, each light had a different position. thus many theories were explored at the same time. For example, the light illuminating the inside of a yew hedge, with its pagan and mythical origins, created a narrative that had political and social undertones.
For me, this installation was a success as it did, quite simply, what I wanted it to do. For the general public, however, only the curious, the ones who set out to see without rushing actually saw most of the pieces. Overheard comments implied that they were not sure of the why, why the lights were there, what for?
Branch, cable ties.
The habit of tying notices to all manner of street objects with cable ties but leaving the ties behind after the notice is removed was the starting point of this work. The sculptural object that was created represented all those lost, removed and torn signs.
Grains of sand, tissue paper, netting rope, box.
A very early work but one that used notions of the unmonumental and viewer involvement that are important in my current work. Individual grains of sand were wrapped up in paper and tied with a strand of netting rope. These were then placed in a box and viewers invited to exchange a parcel for something of their own. This exchange then created a new work. Offerings included a specially written poem, a receipt, an empty glass and a rose.
Neon sign in wooden box.
Commissioned by Staffordshire University, this work represents open in all senses of the word. It was relocated every month for a year before its final positioning in the Courtyard Café where it is used in its traditional sense. The relocating of the work aimed to displace the viewer and prevent the work becoming part of the everyday through familiarity. Its locations were documented by the blog http://staffordshireuniversityopen.wordpress.com/
Kites, Ciment fondu.
Although a very early work, I still feel that this has importance. 22 hand-made, hand-printed kites were flown, not always successfully, at the same time, each tethered to a ciment fondu cast. The premise of the work was to explore the forced leaving of their homes by asylum seekers and refugees. The casts were of objects that were taken on their journeys, such as a baseball cap, which, with a pair of trousers, were the only things that a 16 year old boy possessed. The kites were printed with hand prints and poems taken from a group of refugees. The information was gathered using first hand interviews.
The kites, flown on a hill, often flew at different angles, they represented the hopes and dreams whilst the casts represented their homelands. This work caused great debate as to why this group of people were here. It was my contention and aim of this work, to highlight the fact that, in general, people would not leave their homelands unnecessarily.
Red cloth, bubble wrap.
Obviously, there are many layers of meaning to this work but the overriding aim was to look at viewer engagement and haptic qualities of a work. To do this, it seemed necessary to create a sense of confinement. I tightly wrapped my body in red cloth so I had no control over movement, no vision and a difficulty hearing and breathing due to the suffocating nature of the cloth. In a sense it was a way of learning to intellectualize feelings instead of panicking and I feel that this piece were important to understand exactly what I am asking of a viewer and how I can safely create a sense of engagement with my work. Joseph Grigely describes the process of 'getting lost in our senses, taking pleasure in the process', ('Untitled Conversation and Portraits 1997-1998) and it is this notion that I want for the viewer.
Reed, puddle. 4cms x 4cms x 6cms.
This work was part of a week long field trip celebrating new open access laws. This reed boat represents both the artist’s past, a fascination with water voyages particularly Thor Heyerdahl’s Pacific journeys, the present in new found freedoms and the future, the hopes and dreams that a journey represents, both the journey perceived by the boat and the ‘new’ land that can be accessed.
However, the memory of the reading of these voyages is hazy. All that remains is the sensation of adventure, the feeling of tiny boats crossing a huge sea. The process of making my reed boat was one of weaving strands together to create a narrative that referenced my individual feelings rather than any allusion to fact.
The siting of this work upon an undistinguished moorland both brings into existence an identity for that location but also contests that identity by conferring another, a second, that relates to the artist’s past and present. However, when an artwork is positioned, the appearance of the original identity of the place is superseded by the artwork for the duration of the work’s existence. A new identity is gained for the duration of the work the inherent identity of the location is experienced within the viewing encounter.
Used engine oil, suspended rag, stainless steel bowl.
The aim of this work was to provide a metonym for roads that engaged environmental factors. The smell of the oil which gradually seeped up the rag was pervasive.
Pewter. 2cms x 2cms x 2cms.
A small sheet of pewter was scrunched and thrown in a corner. Tiny, insignificant but precious, this work looked at notions of value, both of this metal and of paper.
Tissues, string, stone. Size 1m x 0.25m.
A stone sways gently in passing draughts skimming the top of a stack of 3200 tissues. The number of tissues is the limit of self support and the minute distance from the top of the stack and the bottom of the stone means that there is always an element of risk as to whether the pile topples over.
Welcome in Chinese was written on a doormat which was then placed at the entrance to the gallery space. This reflected the former usage of the space as a garment factory and, by using a doormat, highlighted employee conditions in the factories of China and other places where Britain places its manufacturing purely on an economic basis for the manufacturer. It was only noticed by the viewer when the gallery information was read, mostly feet were wiped on it as expected.