Random Squares and Concentric Rings
Digital. October 2018
Abstract art based on circles, squares and rectangles.
A major compositional feature of the image is the relatively random distribution of squares on one side contrasted with the very enclosed and restrained concentric distribution of the rings on the other side. This is a deliberate contrast between randomness and constraint. The fact that the squares all have their sides horizontal and vertical is a deliberate feature of restraint imposed on the relatively randomly positioned squares.
The rings are not perfect circles. This is partly to disrupt any preconception that they should be perfect circles, especially in an image that’s composed of basic geometric shapes.
The use of squares and long thin rectangles is probably influenced in part by Mondrian and the de Stijl group.
Wall mural visualisation
An image applied directly to the wall of an art gallery (visualisation). July 2018
A photomontage showing what an image from my series of smoking squares would look like if applied directly to an art gallery wall as a mural.
Black Square with Circle Removed
Gouache on paper. 30cm x 30cm. June 2018
Part of a series of abstract minimalist paintings of black squares with a circle missing from a corner, in this case along with the part of the square that is separated from the main body of the square by the circle.
This painting is a study of presence and absence. The black square has the quality of a solid, impactful entity while the white circle and top left corner give the impression of absence or negative space.
In other images the black square itself conveys a quality of negative space, suggesting a black void in the centre of the image.
Abstract composition, created 2012.
The composition is a study in confinement, with the geometrical forms in the composition seemingly squeezed into the space within the composition. The angled square in the composition touches each side of the frame, which itself is a square. This adds to the composition’s sense of confinement as the image has no specific top and bottom and can be viewed in any orientation, giving the impression of ‘no way out’. Not only that, but the square format suggests that the enclosed square and its accompanying circles can almost possess a degree of freedom of movement by being able to rotate within the frame – a form of movement that in reality possesses no more freedom than does the movement of a hamster in a wheel.
This work consists of a length of brightly coloured cord hanging over the branch of a hawthorn tree in a patch of woodland near St Ives, Cornwall.
The simplicity of construction of the piece is important. The observer will hopefully notice the almost total lack of endeavour required to create the work, while also noticing the (hopefully) relatively high aesthetic payoff as a result of that endeavour.
The two bright vertical lines formed by the work contrast sharply with the dark shadows and the tangled and twisted branches and twigs of the hawthorn and blackthorn in the wood.
The fact that the cord creates two hanging lines gives the cords an increased presence when compared with a single hanging cord. They seem to resonate against each other and create a more concrete effect than would be achieved with a single one dimensional strand.
A lot of land art and other art in the environment strive to use only natural ingredients in the composition of the art, good examples being the work of Richard Long and Andy Goldsworthy. This work however consciously uses artificial material in the form of nylon paracord.
The placing of brightly coloured plastic into the environment refers partly to humanity’s imposition of artificiality onto the natural world. This is partly a message about the despoiling of the environment by our endeavours. The fact that the nylon cord is simply draped across the branch of a tree helps to reinforce this message, as the cord acquires qualities associated with the detritus of our throw-away consumer society. The fact that the cord is plastic reinforces this further, and the fact that the straight lines of the cord are cutting through the organic forms of the woodland gives a slight sense of violent imposition. However, the brightly coloured plastic looks quite pleasing in some ways and to some sensibilities, so the work is also saying that humanity’s imposition of artificiality onto the environment has a positive side to it (but also that just because something looks nice doesn’t necessarily mean that it is).
In fact, where would we be without the artificiality that we impose on the environment? The artificiality that we create is one of the greatest achievements of the human race. Would you like to live without the electric and electronic devices that populate your life? (The coloured cord could easily be a length of electric cable). The main problem is that we just create too much artificiality. Hence some of the ambiguity in this piece.
The use of coloured cord in this work was undoubtedly inspired by the work of Fred Sandback.
Nought and cross. 2017
A digitally created work consisting of diagonals and circles.
In this work I was chiefly concerned with the effect of creating discontinuous diagonals. The circle helps to focus the attention onto the centre of the image, where all of the action is taking place, as well as adding a degree of three-dimensionality and formal variation to the image.
It’s hard to tell how big this sculpture is from this photograph.
The square ends of the two blocks from which the sculpture is composed could maybe be a metre across. In fact they are closer to five centimetres, as the piece is created from lengths of two by two wood (two inches by two inches).
The work has a strange relationship with scale. It’s small, but it could be big. If there was a zoom facility for three dimensional objects that worked in a similar way to that on computer and phone screens, where you simply touch the surface and drag in or out to change the size, this sculpture would beg to be dragged just to see how it worked at different scales.
At it’s actual size this sculpture looks as though it’s happy at the size that it is, while somehow containing the spirit of a larger sculpture within itself. In some ways it gives the impression of being a large object that is somehow being perceived as being small, as though viewed through the wrong end of a telescope .
As I mentioned, this work is composed of two pieces of two by two wood. This is a common size of wood sold in long lengths in timber yards for use in general construction projects. This sculpture came about when I picked up two short offcuts of wood from a different project, that each had been cut at 45 degrees at one end, and placed them on a work surface on their angled faces. They instantly acquired a dynamic and vital presence. Due to the manner in which they rested at an angle they looked as though they were embedded in the surface with part of their form submerged.
One of the things I like about this work is that it is made from extremely simple components – two pieces of wood from a builders’ merchants and a bit of acrylic paint. Yet it doesn’t look like a work created in the spirit of ‘detritus art’ in which the work is deliberately engineered to emphasise its origins in the flotsam and jetsam of contemporary culture (Artists such as Philidda Barlow, whose work I like greatly, and Abraham Cruzvillegas come to mind as good exponents of this genre). In fact this sculpture could almost be mistaken for a tiny example of the ostentatiously highly engineered work that are quite common in modernist sculpture.
Pencil drawing with ink additions on paper. June 2017
A pencil sketch of a dark cone set in a featureless landscape.
The slightly blurred quality of the pencil marks in this image combined with the sharper and darker ink lines create an unsettling atmosphere in the image.