Currently, I am working with images of human endeavour. Tourist elephant rides, camel polo matches, robotic dogs, Olympic medal winners, arctic explorers, sea world trainers, hawk hunts men, farmers and fighter jet pilots spiral through digital fractal designs inside images of Masaai warriors, snake charmers, cheerleaders and Gladiators. I then mount these prints on plywood, jigsaw the silhouette out, and attach a frame to make them free standing. Once installed, I arrange objects that play off the printed images, into an assemblage. I use materials such as woven fabrics, tools, potted ferns, reef shells, cactus, concrete, clocks, jewellery, salt, sponges, sand and marble.
I’m interested in patterns of behaviour, activity and correlation. Why we draw a distinction between ‘us’ and ‘the natural world’. Do other animals? Where and when did this tourist mentality come from? Does it matter who can run the fastest 100 meters in the world? Why do we celebrate it? What is the difference between oil running out in 2 years or 10? Why are we still, hunting for it? Does it matter which countries or races survive the resultant global food famine when it is too expensive to produce or transport? What about the ones that live past it being financially difficult to physically impossible? Do you think that we will be able to travel faster than light speed within the next 6 billion years before the sun explodes and destroys our planet and solar system like every other star has and will? Will we be able to get to another one? Does it matter who is president or prime minister now or then? Or which colour sports kit puts a ball in a net more frequently.
My new work is an over saturated colour celebration of these absurd questions. I hope that viewers of my work recognise some kind of proposed interconnectivity and add their own experiences and sense of humour to the connections they make.
What is the selection process when choosing images for this project? In other words, what commonality do you find in images of, say, robotic dogs and cheerleaders?
I search for images that I feel, in mass, have a balance of obscure and direct correlation to Our relationship with the natural world. For example, here, is a detail of one of my fractal sketches. Some images, such as Dog walkers, Sea World Trainers, Bull Matadors and Sheep shearers, speak directly of one individual of our species interaction with another individual of another species. I use these images of interaction as a metaphor of interconnectivity and our engagement with the world.
If played on too heavily, however, it can force the work to portray a very linear narrative. That of : bullfighting is bad and stroking cats is good.
So to counter balance this, I introduce grey areas, sourcing images of human interaction with each other and our evolution through behaviour, competition and technology. This opens up the dialogue between the images and allows the audience more room inside the work, to play with their own opinions and ideas on the subjects presented. This is when and why i introduced the fractal designs for those images to sit in. By placing them all in one repeated universal structure they convey an inherent commonality. Which gives me the space to play with colour and form.
To what extent do the materials play a role in the meaning or significance of the artistic project?
I use materials in a similar way to the conglomerate of images : an overall tone.
Through association and history, different materials convey different moods through the work they intergrate with.
Polished white marble implies pure wealth, luxury and power that can not be sustained and will be corrupted and soiled, but long after we are. Concrete was a failed 70’s, utilitarian highrise dream. A live pine tree is a naturally occurring fractal. But it also has vitality, promise and Christmas morning anticipation. So does a perfectly clean pallette, but not a splintered half charred piece of 2”x 4”. A sheet of polished glass represents clarity of view, a shattered and cracked shard does not. Stopped watches denote a juncture in, or end of time. Leather and furs demonstrate destruction and invention but more specifically expose a human hierachy of purpose. Earth is fertile, sand is not. Salt and water are both necessary to survival but in very different quantities. Gold is worth more, the less we can find. Plastic is a light, flexible, smooth and durable material of the future. Or it was, when the future had oil in it.
If the images are the works articulated thoughts, then the materials are its subconscious or emotional expression.
Describe this distinction you make between ‘us’ and the ‘natural world’. Is your work emphasizing this distinction or trying to break down that boundary?
To explore an idea, there is a certain amount of taking apart, necessary. But in order to inspire exploration, it helps to throw a spot light on an amusing example of that boundary.
I think the description for that distinction is in your question… we call it ‘The Natural World’. As if it isn’t part of our world, like it is something alien, or that we are alien from. As if we have made OUR world, and ‘The Natural World’ is something else that exists along side ours and we visit it, if we so choose.
And we do choose. We choose to view it in HD, 3D with surround sound while sipping a beer and crunching popcorn in our city flats. Or point at distant exotic samples of it through the toddler smeared windows of BMW estates in grey, drive-thru safari parks. We watch killer whales, lions, horses and dogs jump through hoops of fire for food and affection because we are ring masters. Ring masters in denial that we have anything to do with the circus.
I find it hilarious and fascinating that despite the intelligence to have gathered the knowledge that we are primates, we still wonder around bashing each other with sticks, grooming others and striping the trees of all their fruit regardless of tomorrow. Breathing, sleeping, playing, eating // competing, breeding, dominating, receding // dying. Those are things that animals do. We do FAR more important things.
Like cheerleading and building plastic robot dogs.
Or even more benign, make pictures of them!