‘How can one build a better self unless on the ruins of the old.’ (Fowles, 1969)
In Place Out Reel, pencil, graphite and acrylic on paper. 2016
There is a sense that I need to justify my work through the explanation of ideas and meanings, those of which seem to have taken on a life of there own, begun to shift, mutate, merge, though fundamentally remain the same. Perhaps I am struggling to pin down these ideas, as there is no need to pin them down; they are happy developing, evolving themselves. There is no longer a need to justify my work or ideas because they naturally justify themselves through all that surrounds them.
I always believed that a reluctance (or indeed refusal) to speak about ones work ensured that a certain magic could be contained. Lynch is a prime example in this respect and his films vibrate through their withheld mysteries and uncanny qualities. Tarkovsky also believed that to ‘affect people individually…the ‘total’ image must become something private’ (Tarkovsky, 1972).
Insight into process is vital because it is here that discoveries are made. Allowing process to overcome deliberation and uncertainty is the key to unlocking doors which otherwise may stay closed forever.
‘The work of art lives and develops like any other natural organism through the conflict of opposing principles. Opposites reach over into each other within it, taking the idea out into infinity.’ (Tarkovsky, 1987)
After a ‘fantastic’ struggle with a recent piece of work I begin to wonder if in fact meaning and process are discreetly tied together after all.
I know that this piece isn’t resolved but I am aware that time has been allowed to give it space and a chance to survive through the ongoing balancing of opposing elements. There were moments where I believed that the best thing for it was to be shredded. It was destined for the black recycle bin. It was a battle to keep it breathing. But I gave it a second chance. A third. I ripped and erased, struck and lightly touched. I wrestled with materials and cherished others. And then finally I understood:
…Discoveries come through transitions that occur beyond, or in spite of the consciousness. They happen without notice to surprise and excite only after a degree of struggle…
It all sounds very dramatic and one would expect to see a masterpiece. There is no masterpiece yet. It is enough to have gained some understanding.
As the opening quote suggests I have a sense that I am uncovering, obliterating and reconfiguring past ideas and processes to discover something ‘better’. Not only is this apparent within this actual piece itself, through both discreet and violent adjustments, but also in response and recognition of work made some years ago.
There is a feeling of coming full circle. I consider the diorama illustrations that I used to create – a way of working that I believed would hold longevity. It still could and therefore does. It’s just that I all too frequently need to draw, to feel the connection between media and surface or self and mark.
Found photos, card, found miniature plastic figures, plaster and gauze.
A Death’s Scroll
Card, found photo, paper, Photoshop
Found photo, bleach, ink, card
I believe that what has surfaced is the recognition of design in a space – the space being like a stage set…A place where I become the external force. Reconfiguring.