• 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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  • Surreal sea creature. Drawing from the imagination.

    contemporary art surreal dada bizarre sea creature

    A surreal sea creature drawn from the imagination.

    Digital image. 6th May 2023

    A bizarre sea creature created digitally in Procreate on an iPad. The shape of the sea creature is based on the number six, as the image was created as part of an exercise in which I sketched several images on my iPad based on the numbers between zero and nine. The concept behind the exercise was that by having to take into account the restraints of including a number in each image I would be forced to work with forms or shapes that I might not think up straight from my imagination.

    When creating the sketch I was attempting to produce a bizarre, weird and sinister image. The result looks as though it owes a debt to surrealism, dada and the symbolists.

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  • Stone eye: surrealist sketch

    contemporary surrealism - giant stone eye

    Stone eye

    Ink, gouache, digital. July 2018

    A surrealist 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 image is almost definitely influenced by surrealist art, including the surrealism of Max Ernst and Rene Magritte.

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  • Surrealist photomontage – wellington boots with arms

    contemporary surrealist photomontage - wellington boots with arms emerging

    Surrealist photomontage – wellington boots with arms

    Photomontage. June 2018

    A photomontage showing arms emerging from the tops of a pair of wellington boots.
    The arms are sinking down into the boots, as though the footware is devouring the owner of the arms. The theme of predatory footwear is one that I’ve explored several times over the past few decades. Another example can be seen here – shoes with teeth.
    Or are the arms emerging from the boots? An example of ambiguity in art.
    This photomontage was created while I was exploring various options for creating a sculpture that included wellington boots. I feel that these boots have a strong sculptural presence, and I’m quite surprised how under-represented they are in the field of sculpture.
    The image, which I think probably falls into the category of contemporary surrealism, is meant to be both humorous and unsettling.

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  • Surreal anthropomorphism and a kitchen sink

    contemporary art surrealism anthropomorphism - the eye of a cyclops

    Anthropomorphic kitchen sink

    Photograph. June 2015

    A slightly surreal, slightly disturbing (to me) anthropomorphic photograph of a kitchen sink. The texture of the sink’s surface along with the staining round the plug hole and the shape and position of the overflow give this image an anthropomorphic quality in which the plug hole may be an eye while the overflow could be a nose or a mouth (or a mixture of both). If this sink does indeed resemble a human face the fact that the face only has one eye in the centre of its head suggests a cyclops.
    The plug hole and overflow can also be seen as being suggestive of other human orifices of course.

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  • Sketch from the imagination – dancing teapots

    surreal sketch from the imagination – teapots

    Sketch from the imagination – dancing teapots.

    Ink and watercolour on paper. 7x9cm. April, 2018

    I like to sit down with a sketchbook every so often and draw whatever comes into my head. Surreal objects with bird-like features are a recurring theme. These slightly surreal dancing teapots are a good example.

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  • Drawing from the imagination – a very small sketch of a very bizarre creature

    drawing from the subconscious - drawing from the imagination

    Bizarre creature – sketch from the subconscious

    Ink sketch on paper 9x7cm. Digital colouring. April 2017

    A small drawing from the imagination that is in one of my sketchbooks.
    I sometimes sit down with a sketchbook when I have a few minutes to spare and just draw whatever comes into my head, unmediated. It’s a sort of subconscious, automatic drawing. I used to think that such sketches would be a good way to encourage the development of new concepts and motifs without too much conscious thought channelling my work down well trodden pathways. However, I soon found that it was actually a way of revealing to oneself one’s inner obsessive visions, as variations on the same themes inevitably lay themselves out on the page time after time. This particular sketch, I see from the notes beside it, was drawn in the gardens of Hatfield House, a stately home in Hertfordshire, while sitting next to the very fine wisteria that’s growing there. There seems to be no link between the two.
    The colour in the image was added later, after scanning the sketch into my laptop.

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  • Umbrellas in contemporary art

    contemporary art umbrella drawing

    Umbrella drawing

    Ink on paper. Digital shading. 2017

    A sketch of an idea for a sculpture, showing an umbrella mounted at the top of a conical structure that has short filaments protruding from it.
    I have a fascination with umbrellas for some reason. I think it’s possibly due to a mixture of their slightly Heath Robinsonesque mechanical structure – the hinged flexible rods that are levered outwards to support a stretched fabric cover – and their pleasing form when in the open position. Not to mention their practicality. And the fact that they are, despite their mechanical intricacy, very much taken for granted and dismissed as objects of great mundanity.
    My first ever published piece of artwork was an absurdist redesign of the umbrella, published in the Sunday Times in about 1974.

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  • Drawing Machine – a barograph repurposed for the purposes of art

    Dada or surrealist sculpture - a barograph creating an automatic drawing

    Drawing machine.

    Study for a proposed sculpture. Photograph of a barograph, digital manipulation. January 2017

    A photograph of a barograph digitally altered so that the arm of the barograph appears to be creating a fine pen and ink drawing of a landscape.
    A barograph normally draws a graph recording air pressure over the course of time on a sheet of graph paper attached to a rotating drum.
    This barograph is in the spirit of surrealism and dada – it is a scientific instrument appropriated for the purposes of art (In C P Snow’s two cultures thesis this would possibly count as cultural appropriation).

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