Irre Wisce, Final Major Project, 2021
The River Erewash (Irre Wisce in old English) forms the county border between Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire and since the industrial revolution, it has been poisoned with toxic waste, rendered devoid of life and culverted out of sight to make way for countless waves of transport infrastructure. But in stark contrast, this beautifully sinuous river has provided inspiration for world-renowned writers, poets and naturalists as it steadfastly yet obliviously meanders its way south. In this piece, the artist has explored how the descriptive language humans have attached to the River Erewash has mirrored the meandering curves of the watercourse itself in how it has ebbed and flowed between romantic reverence and dubious political rhetoric. We are asked to consider how our physical distance from natural beauty impacts our perception of it as either a precious place of solace or as an obstruction to human enterprise.
Outside Power, National Justice Museum, 2021
The 18th-century panopticon design of the former Millbank prison in London is a metaphor for surveillance in modern society, be that via CCTV or the Internet. This piece questions the omnipresent power of the all-seeing eye and the unconscious influence of hidden forces on our lives. Scattered inside are the hand-punched remnants of the autobiography of anarchist Emma Goldman so we question how resistance to authority is scrambled under our noses.
I Know About the Horses (part 2), 2021
This was a fascinating extension to the earlier project where I explored using charcoal powder, spray paint and stencils to create a graffiti aesthetic on canvas. I enjoy how charcoal creates ghost-like impressions which add a sense of a memory that has been partially blown away over time.
I Know About the Horses (part 1), 2021
Spoken language is intimately tied to the slice of time within which it was uttered and words thrown at us at that moment can pierce a fragile heart. But over time our assiduous brain can purposely shatter these harmful connections, separate the language from its interpretation, and create a new dawn of more positive narrative. We see a set of personal memories, laid bare and with a new visual language attached to them. We are taken on a journey of reinterpretation that is aligned to Judith Butler’s assessment that “Words might, through time, become disjointed from their power to injure and be recontextualized in more affirmative modes.” The artist encourages us to reassess injurious language from our own past and reframe it in a reimagined, more positive landscape.
It Was Quite a Noisy Night, 2020
Traumatic experiences impact the human brain in complex ways and psychology informs us that these memories are stored as smaller chunks rather than entire events. This may be nature’s way of protecting us against reliving a disturbing past but does it also introduce the potential of adding fiction to the retelling of these faceted stories? This piece explores how a child and adult deal with a traumatic event differently by interjecting their own imagery and symbolic connections to lay down memories in a way that gives them closure. The work itself disrupts the sacred family history and we are asked to consider how shattered memories and contemporary influences can morph how we perceive the past.
Free as a Bird, 2020
Free As a Bird was based on the 18th-century panopticon design of the former Millbank prison in London. This iconic shape allowed continuous surveillance of inmates from a single location that made them unsure whether they were being observed or not. The panopticon has since become a metaphor for surveillance in modern society, be that via CCTV or the Internet. For this project, I created a bird feeder as a panopticon motif and captured the random comings and goings of birds. Time-lapse images will show the contents being displaced to reveal the sinister shape within. This piece questions power and control 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. A bird epitomises absolute freedom so we question how hidden forces of control influence our own lives.
Climate Change Selfie, 2019
Triops cancriformis (a tadpole shrimp) is a rare crustacean and the British species is the oldest known animal species in the world. Triops has witnessed an industrial revolution, war and climate change but remains ignorant and unchanged in its own ecosystem. My work explores a fascination with this species as a potential survivor of climate change and how this contrasts with human attempts to survive the damage we have done to our planet. The photographs present Triops not as a primitive species but as a superior organism that has evolved to observe human behaviour, our creations and inevitable self-destruction. It emerges from its natural environment in a human guise to be bemused by our mono-cultured crops and alien technology. The viewer is asked to consider how our developed world might appear to a primitive species, the questions it might ask and whether its simplistic existence is the key to its survival, way beyond the rise and fall of humankind.