During the last thirty-five years I have been engaged mainly in the production of relief and free-standing constructions made from various woods and collections of both manmade and natural objects, carefully chosen in a variety of urban, rural and coastal sites as well as bought from junk stalls and charity shops. They range from those which have achieved their patina and beauty through the action of the sea, rain, wind, frost and urban pollution, to objects such as buttons, paste jewellery and throwaway plastic ephemera. These objects often suggest their own subjects and relationships, however, remembered experiences - which vary from art works in galleries and architectural details, to relationships and shapes in nature - also provide sources of ideas.
They are invariably only starting points, however, as the works usually develop over time and their progress is a result of making appropriate and precise relationships based on patient craftsmanship and time-consuming labour – an organic process which relies heavily on informed intuition. The result is an aesthetic alliance in which participants celebrate each other’s richness.
The process is much like that described by Martin Shuttleworth when talking about the work of Harry Thubron “...taking an object or a material and putting it in relationship with another so that there is an aesthetic marriage in which each participant celebrates the other. It is a process, first of recognition: this thing I will use, and not that; after that comes the delicate and equally instinctive process of finding the right situation for it.”*
Sources of inspiration and points of reference which may or may not be immediately apparent in the works include such as: the constructed sculptures of Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro; the collages of Max Ernst and Kurt Schwitters; the drawings and paintings of Paul Klee and Samuel Palmer; countryside walking and a concern for the quality of the natural environment; storytelling; and Socialist politics. Recently I have become interested in the somewhat serendipitous activity of recognizing human and animal characteristics in inanimate objects, analogous perhaps to Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s images of fruit, flowers, birds and fish which act as parts of the human face; and Arthur Rackham’s gift of imbuing nature with human characteristics.
* Shuttleworth, Martin (1976) ‘Introduction’ in Harry Thubron – Exhibition Catalogue – Serpentine Gallery, London, Arts Council of Great Britain.