Swarm of flying ants video


Video.  16sec. 2nd September 2018

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.

Environmental art installation

Environmental contemporary art installation - planet earth in a rubbish bin
Eco art sculpture: the earth in a rubbish bin

Earth Bin

Environmental sculpture/installation. January 2017

A sculpture showing how I feel the human race is treating the environment – by putting the planet into the waste bin.
The sculpture consists of a standard kitchen waste bin, lined internally with black material and with a back-lit image of the earth at its base. The result is the illusion that by looking into the bin you are looking into outer space as though through a porthole in a spacecraft, with the earth floating in the distance. It’s surprisingly effective.
The kitchen waste bin was deliberately chosen as the reciprocal that contains the earth because of its banality, to emphasise how we are depleting the earth’s resources through mundane consumption.

A version of this work was shortlisted for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2022.
I’ve been creating environmental art in one form or another since about 1970.

Plastic milk bottle heads as a large wall mounted installation (visualisation).

Contemporary environemtal installation – oversized plastic bottles

Giant milk bottle heads

Visualisation of wall mounted sculpture or installation. September 2018

This visualisation is a development of my work in creating human heads from plastic milk bottles.
The sculptural heads are vastly over-sized compared to the original plastic milk bottles.
The size of the heads gives them an impressive air, similar to that created by, for example, Easter Island statues. The primitive markings that create the faces are reminiscent of ancient ritualistic statuary. These factors, the ancient and the impressive, give the work a tension due to the mundanity of the objects that are actually represented – discarded plastic milk bottles with fibre tip pen faces drawn on them.
These heads are partly a comment on our throw-away consumer culture and the environmental hazard that it represents. The size of the milk bottles can be taken to represent the size of the problem of consumer waste, especially of one-use consumer waste (such as plastic milk bottles). The faces drawn on the bottles are partly a reference to the fact that it’s normal people who are generating the waste.

The work reflects my interest in art and the environment (I created my first environmental art in the early 1970s).

Environmental art – a leaf changes colour in autumn

Contemporary art in the environment- a painted leaf

A Leaf Changes Colour in Autumn

Leaf, acrylic paint. September 2018

A maple leaf painted blue with red polka dots.
The leaf had fallen from the tree in autumn.
The inspiration for this work came partly from the fact that the leaves on the trees were changing colour in the autumn, prompting me to think of changing their colours in other ways.
In previous years I’ve painted acorns and suchlike in unusual colours.
Like a lot of my work, this work involved interacting with and responding to the natural environment.
Unlike a lot of environmental art, my own environmenntal art often involves interventions of a deliberately unnatural nature, such as here where I’ve painted a perfectly nice autumn leaf in unnatural paint (acrylic) and in a designn generated from human esthetics. This is partly to conveny tghe way that we impose our tastes and our values on the natural world.

Contemporary art and the environment - a painted maple leaf
A detail of the painted leaf.

Environmental art – heads created from discarded milk bottles

contemporary environmental sculpture from consumer waste - sculptural head created from milk bottles


Plastic milk bottle, ink. August 2018

Slightly unsettling heads created from empty plastic milk bottles.

Like many artists I have a habit of collecting waste and recycling it into works of art.
The slightly sinister appearance of these heads, drawn as they are on post-consumer waste in the form of discarded plastic milk bottles, can be interpreted as a comment on the fact that we as humans are destroying the environment through (amongst other things) our profligate use of plastic packaging (I’ve been producinng work connserned with environmental issues since the 1970s).
The fact that the heads also resemble the type of craft-play objects produced by children can be interpreted as alluding to the western world’s current tendency towards a philosophy of consequence-denying pleasure seeking in which the adults in society fail to take responsibility for their actions beyond immediate self-gratification.

contemporary environmental art sculpture created from consumer waste - heads created from plastic milk bottles

Stranded Object: art and climate change

contemporary art and global warming - abandoned marooned object

Stranded Object

Ink, gouache, digital, paper. 28x19cm. July 2018

A work about climate change and global warming.
The work contains definite ominous overtones. These are probably linked to the general atmosphere of foreboding that permiated society when the artwork was created in 2018, chief amonst which was the phenomenon of global warming or climate change, which still threatens to disrupt the earth’s entire ecosystem and to turn civilisation as we know it upside down. And this is just the beginning.
I’ve been interested in environmental issues since the 1960s.
Whatever the object is in this painting, it is abandoned or marooned on a featureless landscape 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.
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).

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.