Linear and curved forms
Acrylic, paper, collage. 35cm x 25cm. 2022.
An abstract acrylic painting featuring a strongly linear black form overlaid by curving coloured forms (some of which are collage while others are painted directly onto the paper).
Although the black linear elements are abstract they convey the impression of a dynamic animal form. This is heightened by the coloured curving forms, some of which hint at eyes or of other organic entities.
Shapes at the edge of perception
Papier mache, acrylic, card. 30cm x 21cm. 2021.
A wall hung piece in which a matte black hemisphere protrudes from a flat matte black surface. Due to the darkness of the surface the protruding hemisphere is quite hard to see (although in this photograph it is lit in a way that makes it reasonably visible). Even less obvious than the protruding hemisphere, the matte black circle at the centre of the metallic area is actually a hemispherical indentation. This indentation is very rarely noticed by observers.
An investigation into perception, optical illusion and expectation.
A cluster of blocks of wood painted very matte black on the sides and bright white on the top. Positioned so that they almost suggest a formation, but not quite. Developed from my chess piece, in which most of the blocks formed a more regular chess board formation.
Op art image
Digital image created in Affinity Designer. 2022
Op art has got many detractors, as can be deduced by the number of artists who have created optical or geometric art who very specifically claim that their art is not Op art.
Personally, I like it very much. I tend to view it partly as a scientific endeavour, with its forms expressing something of the underlying structure of reality, or at least of our perception of it.
This image has more than a hint of Victor Vasarely about it. It didn’t look particularly like a Vasarely until I’d nearly finished it, when I applied a ‘bloat’ to the vertical parallel lines on the image, making them bulge (The image is digital, so that’s a very easy thing to do). Suddenly there he was – Victor Vasarely!
This image is an exercise in digital manipulation of photographs of the human body in order to show how familiar parts of the anatomy can take on sinister or comic form (or both) even with, or because of, the application of small variations.
An image of a swarm of ants forming the shape of one giant ant.
The image is intended to convey the scientific concept of the superorganism, where the individual members of an animal community (such as bees, wasps or ants) cannot exist as individuals but have to function as part of a larger unified communal entity.
The work reflects my interest in science, evolution, the natural world and the environment.
Some people argue that human society is a superorganism, generally on the grounds that we live in an incredibly complex society that is full of specialisation of roles, and that society would fall apart if some of these roles were to fail to function. This definition however doesn’t take into account one of the prerequisites of a superorganism, which is that the individual organisms within the superorganism can’t survive alone. Humans can easily survive even if our complex society collapses – there are people all around the world doing that very thing right now.
A sculpture constructed from old objects such as a discarded ball, clips for holding paper on a drawing board and a discarded homemade ‘constructivist’ toy.
An example of up-cycling in art, with associations to art movements such as arte povera.
A sculpture formed from a wood block, plastic hands and a small hand torch.
The work is composed of very simple components (the wood block is a piece of 2×2), its impact here being the result of the lighting. It looks good without the lighting too, of course.
Stripes with smoke
Acrylic and gouache on paper 14cm x 14cm September 2020
An acrylic and gouache abstract painting composed of a square of brightly coloured stripes embedded within a smoke-like form in gouache. The coloured square is revealed through a hole in the paper on which the smoke is painted.
An acrylic abstract painting composed of two separate rectangular areas each with a stack of smaller coloured rectangles embedded within it. The rectangles in the upper area form a ladder while those in the lower area are more brightly coloured.
The amount of white paper on which the shapes are placed is important, as the forms seem to float on the surface rather than the surface simply being the base onto which the image is painted.
Yellow square blue diagonal
Acrylic on paper 8.5cm x 8.5cm on a 21cm X 29cm sheet. July 2020
An acrylic abstract of a yellow square on a black background, with a blue diagonal. The interior of the square is very dark grey, not black.
The paint is high viscosity acrylic, so it has a slight texture. The edges of the forms in the painting are generally sharp due to the use of masking film. A very small amount of bleed under the film was allowed in places (by not pressing the film too firmly onto the paper) so that a few imperfections could occur, thus preventing the forms being too clinically precise.
A video of a dense swarm of flying ants at the top of Zenor Hill, Cornwall.
The 16 second video is extended by repeating and reversing several times.
A swarm of flying ants consists of male ants and virgin queen ants performing their mating ritual. Following this nuptial flight the fertilised queens will dissipate to form new colonies. The males will die.
Art and science – ants as a superorganism
Artist’s impression. January 2020 Based on a digital work from 1990
A proposed art installation or mural showing multiple images of ants crawling across an art gallery wall, with the ants grouping together and coalescing into the form of a single gigantic ant.
The work depicts the concept of the superorganism, in which multiple individual organisms of the same species (in this case ants) interact by a process of synergy to give rise to a collective body that can operate in ways that the individuals can’t. The individual organisms within the superorganism usually display a degree of division of labour, where the individual organisms can’t survive for long on their own. Human civilisation is often defined as a form of superorganism, although this isn’t strictly accurate, as humans can survive alone.