Art from everyday objects

contemporary art from everyday objects

Prestige

Prestige steel baking tray on front of glazed picture frame 46x60cm 2008

A work created from a mundane everyday object – a kitchen baking tray – mounted on the exterior of a glazed picture frame.

One of the motivations behind the work was to show the beauty and rich visual interest intrinsic in mundane objects from mundane environments.

Below is a detail of the intricate patterns and patina on the steel surface of the baking tray. The word ‘Prestige’ it the centre is an important feature.

contemporary art from everyday objects

I’ve been interested in the concept of finding beauty in the mundane ever since I admired the colours in the film of detergent on a wire mess kitchen utensil (maybe a cake stand) as it caught the sun. That was in my parents’ kitchen about sixty years ago.

Kitchen sink art

contemporary art kitchen sink tea pot

Kitchen sink art: Tea pot in washing up bowl

Photograph. 2023

A photograph showing the rim of a tea pot protruding from the detergent bubbles in a washing up bowl in a kitchen sink.

The photograph is a good example of finding aesthetic interest in the everyday and the mundane. What can be more everyday and mundane than the washing up?.

The first time that I remember noticing such a phenomenon was a specific occasion when I was a child in the early 1960s and I was fascinated by the colours in the soap films that were filling the gaps in the mesh of a cake stand (or similar kitchen item). I specifically remember thinking about the phenomenon of the beauty of the soap films in the setting of the drab environment of the kitchen.

I’ve called this type of work Kitchen Sink Art in homage to the kitchen sink drama of the 1960s.

Contemporary abstract art – Red Disc, Yellow Rim

contemporary abstract geometric art red circle

Contemporary abstract geometric art: Red disk, yellow rim

Digital. May 2023

A geometric abstract painting produced using Procreate on an iPad with an Apple Pencil. This is a particularly useful way to create artwork, as the combination of tools lend themselves to particularly intuitive and spontaneous creations.

Mirror art – waving fingers

Mirror art. Study for waving fingers.

Mirrors, cloth, person.  61 seconds. Nov 2023

A study for a work involving a triangular mirror box with an opening in one corner through which a person’s fingers are intruding. You may notice that the reflections of some of the fingers are noticeably blurred. This is because this study is using standard commercial mirror tiles which, like most mirrors, produce a reflection from the front surface of the glass as well as from the mirrored rear surface. Front coated mirrors or similar would avoid this problem, but they are too expensive for use in development studies.

The multiple reflections within the mirror box create a ring of fingers that look like a sea anemone or a strange and unsettling alien lifeform.

contemporary art mirror reflections of fingers

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Bell

contemporary art sketch hanging man bell

Hanging man. For whom the bell tolls

Digital sketch. December 2023

A sketch created using Procreate on an iPad.

The sketch shows a bell of the type found in church towers or similar buildings. Hanging inside the bell, in the place where the clapper would normally be, is a man.

The image came to me spontaneously while I was looking at a (much smaller) bell. I think that the idea may be that the bell marks out time, and therefore marks out life, something in the way that the hourglass carried by Father Time does.

The clapper inside the bell may be the equivalent of the scythe carried by the grim reaper – maybe it’s a noose. Hence the hanged man.

Flight mobile sculpture – hands as wings

contemporary art fight mobile

Flight.

Wood, plastic. June 2022. Solo exhibition, Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens, Cornwall.

A mobile sculpture consisting of wooden spheres with plastic hands that form wings.

Hands are a recurrent theme in my work, as is flight. I’ve created several works that feature hands as wings, usually in the form of sketches and other drawings.

Using hands as wings is actually far from being far-fetched. The wings of birds and bats both evolved from hands (which is why birds and bats don’t have hands – it’s a choice of one or the other. Angels and fairies have both, but they are made up and are anatomically incorrect). Insect wings evolved along a different route, possibly from heat-gathering flaps or panels (insects being very dependant on the heat of the sun).

The symbolism of flight is linked closely with the concept of freedom. This link can be overstated, I think, especially when we project it onto the natural world. We envy the flight of birds, but birds don’t fly because they are free. Small birds that in theory can fly wherever they please often tend to spend their whole lives in a single place such as an individual tree. Some of them may migrate thousands of miles to reach their chosen tree, but they’ve possibly travelled there from another individual tree in a different part of the world. On top of this, on isolated islands that have no predators birds frequently lose the power of flight, so flying obviously isn’t one of their primary concerns.