- Kinetics of fell running, 2020
- It was quite a noisy night, 2020
- Free as a bird, 2020
- Ferens Open Exhibition, 2020
- Sign of our times, 2019
- THiNK Summer Exhibition, 2019
- Wirksworth Festival, 2019
- Brutalism, 2019
- Raised Beds, 2019
- Journey, 2019
- Objects & Actions, 2018
- Wirksworth Festival, 2018
- Sugar coating, 2017
- Escape from this Madness, 2017
Kinetics of fell running, 2020
I've been a keen fell runner for many years. I still compete in local fell races and have had some category wins but in more recent years it has become more about the unhindered freedom and community of this small quirky band of outdoor-loving people.
There is something sublime about running through the wilderness, propelled by nothing but your own muscles and being at the mercy of the elements. I have wanted to capture this feeling in a set of work for a while so have set about creating my own interpretation in ink and watercolour.
Here we have my early results which I'm really happy with. A loose definition of musculature combined with a splatter of watercolour really seems to capture the clash of man against nature. I plan to develop this style into a set of prints so watch this space!
It was quite a noisy night, 2020
This work is based on a family story from the blitz in WW2. My mother was 6 and living in a small village in East Yorkshire. On March 19th 1941 a deep penetration bomb came through the roof of her parent's house but didn't explode. The family survived unscathed but my uncle became deaf and my mother has been traumatised for her entire life. The story of the bombing has been retold many times and the story has twisted and turned across the decades.
This set of drawings are based on real family photographs but mixed in are some contemporary references. I am investigating the disruption of the family photograph album and how memories of traumatic events can get shattered and pieced back together in new ways.
Free as a bird, 2020
This project is based on the 18th century panopticon design of the former Millbank prison in London. This iconic shape was conceived by Jeremy Bentham as a way to allow continuous surveillance of inmates from a single location in a way that made them unsure whether they were being observed or not.
Since it was devised, the panopticon has become a metaphor for surveillance in modern society, be that via CCTV or the Internet. The watchtower at the heart of the panopticon is a precursor to the cameras fastened to our buildings – purposely visible machines with human eyes hidden from view.
I created a bird feeder as a panopticon motif to capture the random comings and goings of birds as they take the food away. Over the period of a day, time-lapse images show the contents being displaced to reveal the sinister shape within.
This piece questions the concept of ownership of information in modern society. The panopticon is the all-seeing eye of big brother but the bird is completely ignorant of technology, boundaries and the rule of law. Despite continuous surveillance, a bird epitomises absolute freedom so we question how the collection of our information actually influences our own lives.
Ferens Open Exhibition, 2020
Being a regular visitor to the fantastic Ferens gallery in Hull, I entered the Ferens Open Exhibition which will run from February 2020. I chose to enter a triptych of emulsion transfer prints created from my own landscape photographs.
The images were taken on an early morning bike ride through the Yorkshire Wolds, which are an arc of low lying hills in East Yorkshire. I moved away from the area 30 years ago and had lost an appreciation of the beauty of these smooth chalk hills in favour of wilder landscapes. It is an intensely farmed area but the earthy colours of the landscape came alive on that morning so I took the photographs with an aim of creating outcomes in the future.
The prints were vectorised and colour adjusted then pixels of colour taken from the images were introduced across the three. I liked the contrast between the natural and digital and the increasing pixelation may show how humankind are slowly erasing nature from our world.
Sign of our times, 2019
This project centred on surveillance and what it means for modern society. The statistic that the average Londoner is caught on CCTV camera 300 times a day gave a focus on digital storage of our personal data. This led to a download of my personal location data from Google which gave a shockingly detailed view of every single one of my movements over the past 15 years. Every journey and the location of every photograph taken had been recorded. We know this is happening but to see it all together was deeply moving.
The outcome for the project was a trace of that data replicated as accurately as possible. Each trace was painstakingly added to the canvas using a thin piece of thread dipped in black ink. This manual process gave time to consider each of these journeys - what it meant to me and exactly what the data giants could do with this information.
The addition of a single steel sphere is a home location, a 360 degree view of my travels and a distorted reflection back at ourselves to consider what all this data means.
THiNK Summer Exhibition, 2019
For this submission I focused on my deep rooted passion for the natural world which comes from my background as a zoologist. The current zeitgeist of climate change emergency has given me a focus but the challenge is how to raise awareness and change behaviour other than the common ‘doom and gloom’ tactic.
We are living in the age of the Anthropocene (which began when human activity started to impact the earth’s ecosystems) and nature will prevail with or without us. So the key is to appreciate that humans ARE nature, not separate from it and my work is based on a ‘doom and bloom’ approach - showing the wonder of nature and that we need to partner with it not fight it.
I created a series of abstract digital images then used emulsion transfer to embed them on canvas frames which I made myself. I love the retro aesthetic of emulsion transfer as no two outcomes are the same and the eroded images have a timeless and ethereal nature.
Wirksworth Festival, 2019
I am constantly inspired by the colour and rugged beauty of the Derbyshire Dales where I live and this is rooted in a passion for protecting the natural world and this was the inspiration for this series of prints.
Getting out in all weathers is key to my work as some of the most powerful scenes are those that appear when the skies suddenly open and reveal an unearthly landscape.
I used photography to capture the wilderness that exists on my doorstep - particularly on the hills around Dovedale in Derbyshire. I then created abstractions in colour and form and then used emulsion transfer to put them on canvas.
I've always enjoyed seeking out Brutalist architecture in and around our northern towns and cities.
This collection is an ongoing photographic project to catalogue some of the hidden character of our urban landscapes.
Raised Beds, 2019
The starting point for this project was the Beyond Camden Town exhibition of Harold Gilman paintings at the Djangoly Gallery in Nottingham. We had the privilege of having an exhibition space adjoining the main hall and our task was to create our own response to Gilman's work in a series of raised wooden beds.
The raised bed container was by its nature going to be viewed from above so I decided that it was critical to create an outcome would be natively looked down upon. A swimming or floating object came to mind as the surface of water is a boundary between two worlds - which was exactly the intention of the outcome. The world of the early 20th century is blurred and slow-moving beneath the water compared to the dynamic high speed of the modern world above the surface. The goal was to create an outcome that occupied the transition between the then and now and showed the collision between a quiet Gilman interior and the unimagined chaos of the modern world.
For this piece I created a horizontal trace of a commuter journey from an urban environment to countryside that is stripped back to show only colour, line and light. The journey is shown as a series of snapshots on 18 semi transparent perspex panels with each panel showing a hand drawn trace of the skyline. Each panel is coloured with the extracted dominant hue taken from a photograph at each location of the journey.
The sequence is lit from behind by a strip of light that reflects through the overlapping sheets to create a mix of colour combinations where the panels overlap. This light source sits centrally in the scene as if it has arrived at a specific location and is currently stationary. This is enhanced by the panels overlapping more towards the middle of the sequence - which gives a subtle indication that time has slowed down where the light source currently sits. The outcome has an overall sense of calm and prompts us to take pleasure in every journey no matter how mundane it becomes following endless repetition.
The impatient consciousness of western society flits between the past and future and neglects the present and has lost the power of reflection and beauty of focusing on the ‘now’. This outcome aims to illuminate the empowerment of taking control of the present moment in our path through life and the harmony with the environment and more importantly oneself that can result.
Objects & Actions, 2018
For this project I created a series of paired photographic diptychs with each arrangement questioning a different aspect of the human condition. The photographs have been paired to create a visual tension that transcends the limits of the printed paper. The aim is to create a narrative in each diptych that generates questions about life, death, addiction, love, vanity, power and belief. The common element is a gold nest filled with the spoils of addiction which provides a thread of the value humans allocate to the material and non-material path through life.
Wirksworth Festival, 2018
I collect natural objects, particularly wood, that are visually interesting and draw from those but I also enjoy finding beauty in the lesser known British wildlife that is often neglected because it is not 'classically' beautiful. For me there is as much beauty in a jumping spider as there is in a fox cub.
For this project I created a series of stippled fine liner drawings from which I produced Giclée prints. The intricate detail of nature is astounding, down to the thousands of hairs that cover the body of a simple bee.
Final Major Project, 2017
This project explored the connection between mental illness and nature extinction. I created an emotive experience that highlighted how mental health stands to deteriorate with the increasing extinction of (and hence reduced access to) nature. I combined a large emotive image with the destructive and alarming 3D additions of caramelised sugar and crows feet.
Over a period of 2 weeks the image decayed slowly as the sugar slipped down to the floor, taking the crows feet with it. The dynamic and unpredictable nature of this piece was intriguing and gave a sense of deterioration over time and the need to act.
Escape from this Madness, 2017
This project was a partnership with Emmanuel House which is a charity supporting homeless, vulnerable or isolated adults in and around Nottingham. Up to 13,000 ex-servicemen/women end up homeless and on our streets, many because of PTSD and highlighting this to the public became the core of my focus.
The outcome I created was a set of ice sculptures placed out in the streets. In the sculptures were embedded phrases uttered by homeless people such as "If I could change one thing" and well as camouflaged military patterns.
The public were then photographed as they walked by the melting sculptures and the final dissolved pieces were varnished and framed.