Art and climate change

contemporary art and global warming - abandoned marooned form

Ink, gouache, digital. 28 x 19cm. July 2018

This image, like many images that I’ve created recently (mid 2018) is a work that is largely generated from my imagination. Having said that, the original inspiration for the crescent-like form was a piece of toast crust.
The work contains definite ominous overtones. These are probably linked to the general atmosphere of foreboding that seems to permiate society at the moment (manifesting itself in such things as the election of Donald Trump in the USA and the swing of many European countries to the right). On top of this the phenomenon of global warming threatens to disrupt the earth’s entire ecosystem and to overturn all civilisation as we know it. Things have only just started to get bad.
The prime source of the foreboding in this work is indeed climate change and the fear of a devastated planet. The imaginary object in the image bears some resemblance to an organic form, possibly a part of an animal’s anatomy – perhaps a horn or a jawbone. The slender forms that protrude from what may be the teeth of a jawbone could possibly be legs, turning the form into something like an upturned crustacean. Whatever it is, the object has the feel of a decaying life-form. The object also has something of the feel of an unnatural artefact – perhaps a piece of rubble following the destruction of a building (with the slender forms representing metal rods in reinforced concrete).
Whatever it is, the object is abandoned or marooned on a featureless plain that probably represents the devastated earth following the ravages of climate change. The fact that the object looks very large is probably symbolic of the enormity of the threat that climate change represents.
Having said all that, the work was not created with any particular symbolism or meaning consciously in mind. I’ve worked backwards from the finished image to find its possible meaning. I’m sure that it also has meanings that are purely to do with the workings of my own brain.

Stone eye

surrealism in contemporary art - giant stone eye

Stone eye. Ink, gouache, digital. July 2018

A sketch of a gigantic stone eye resting on the ground. A mysterious pipe-like cylinder extends upwards from the eye. A similar eye in the distance shows the pipe-like structure extending unfeasibly high into the air.
The eye and pipe bring to mind some designs of stove.
Perhaps the image is influenced by Celebes by Max Ernst, in which the rotund form was derived from a Sudanese corn bin..

Contemporary art and science – the creation of complexity from simplicity (Generative art)

contemporary art meets science - the creation of complexity from simplicity in generative art

The generation of complex forms from simple forms. Series begun 2008

This is a design to accompany a series of video animations that explore the creation of complex forms from simple forms (usually in the form of grids).
The works were first conceived as a device to visualise the creation of the complex structure that underlies the physical universe from extremely simple fundamental components.
Very much an example of art meets science.
More on the subject.

Anthropocentrism and pareidolia – an orchid flower as a human head.

humour in contemporary art - an orchid as a head (pareidolia)

Pareidolia. September 2013. Photograph with digitally drawn additions.

A humorous image: a human body drawn onto a photograph of an orchid.
I like this image’s comic/sinister quality.
It’s a work that’s about the way that people interpret the world around them in anthropocentric terms.
The phenomenon of seeing faces where there aren’t any is called pareidolia. I suspect that the condition evolved because for our hunter gatherer ancestors it was very important to be able to see their enemy’s faces hiding in the undergrowth.

Sketch of an imaginary organic form

contemporary art monochrome sketch - unsettling imaginary organic form

Sketch of an imaginary organic form. July 2018. Height: 32cm. Gouache with digital additions.

This is a sketch from my imagination. I think that the body of the organic form in the sketch is probably inspired by the nests created by potter wasps. I used to watch potter wasps creating their pot-like nests when I visited France.

Painted cast plaster sculpture.

contemporary art sculpture - painted cast plaster

Painted cast plaster sculpture. July 2018. Height: 11cm

A small sculpture created by casting the interior of a coffee filter cone.
The work is deliberately created in a slightly crude style (notice the imperfections in the base).

contemporary art sculpture - painted cast plaster

Dog Walk: art installation composed of dog poo bags

A video of an art installation in the countryside that comments on the behaviour of some dog walkers.
The work features an avenue of discarded dog pooh bags.
The work was inspired by the experience of going on many walks in the countryside and coming across discarded black plastic dog poo bags: sometimes hidden, sometimes in full view. There’s a theory that the dog owners leave them there to be picked up on their return, however in that case many of them don’t return.

Land art, Cornwall

contemporary art Cornwall- land art on Zennor Hill

Wood battens on granite outcrop, Zennor Hill. June 2018.

One of my sculptural works in the Cornish landscape.

Square and circles : gouache and watercolour

contemporary watercolour and gouache abstract art - black square with red circles

Black square with red circles: gouache and watercolour: 24cm x 21cm: July 2018.

This is a painting from a series that I’m working on that explores the dynamics of stability and instability.
The square in the image suggests stability, while the circles, with their lack of roundedness and their off-kilted positioning, suggest instability. The smoke effect adds to the sense of disequilibrium.

The painting has no specific right way up, which all helps with the feeling of precariousness that the work generates.