Klankenbos Residency, Belgium - Optical Sound 2012
‘Klankenbos’ is situated in the district of Neerpelt in Belgium. It is part of the Musica organisation and has ten permanent sound sculptures set within a forest. My proposal was to create a painting that was inspired by these spaces and sounds. During my initial research I discovered that sounds and colours have a relationship. Both can be compared by their frequencies or wavelengths and audio tones or musical notes can be converted to the visual spectrum of light. My preliminary idea was to complete a painting relating to this, but after spending time by each sound sculpture I realised that there was more than a direct translation. The nature that surrounded each sculpture affected how the colour could be translated. In the silence a pine cone created its own sound as it fell on the sculpture; the ravens nested outside the canary installation and made a greater noise and the silence of one of the broken sculptures was only broken by the fall of the oak leaves around it. This inspired how I used the colour, not just by representing the sound of the sculpture but also by using the nature around them. A pine cone painted blue became the visual sound of not just the sound sculpture but also the forest, an oak leaf was painted red to mimic the sound of another and I made a nest for the sound of the nature by another. These were then installed in or nearby the sculptures and became part of their space.
The Forgotten Soldier is a reminder of those forgotten in the First World War. It is based on an anonymous photographic postcard of an unknown soldier. We can roughly date the image by his uniform but other that that we have no details of who he was, his personal history or if he survived. We only know what we can see by the image provided. The painting refers to the way the image and its history has been discarded and forgotten. As time goes by, that's what happens with images, we seem to forget that they are, or were part of our history. We become detached from its reality and the life that it represents. It is a fragment of a much bigger picture that we ought to remember.
Donated to the History Department, Madeley Academy, Telford.
Seeing in the Surface is my first major exhibition now open at The Brewhouse Arts Centre Burton on Trent.
The exhibition runs from 15 August - 20 September Preview and Social event details below.
Whilst on a trip to Barcelona I came across this colourful character. She was quite oddly dressed (but there I go making judgments already) and was having a wash, seemingly unaware of any passers by. I took a photograph purely as a memory of the moment and out of curiosity. Of course I have not shown the whole image here as seeing fragments you will be able to come to your own conclusions. If you had even less information or perhaps only one image would you be able to make an accurate judgment. Seeing, interpreting and judging the world around us without revealing more, does not give an accurate picture especially if that picture has elements of concealment.
It's been a while since I posted about the fragments, this is another project in development but a thought occurred to me today that it wanted to share. If we only look at the surface, how insignificant it can be. What if the surface is revealed, how much can be discovered. Judging the surface of society without looking further can be just as insignificant.
This aerial view shows the position of the crater for anyone wishing to see it for themselves. Park at The Cock Inn in Hanbury, Staffordshire and the crater and memorial is about a 20 minute walk away across the fields. You can just see the outline of the path around it in this image at A. It's a bit muddy at the moment so don't forget your wellies.
It's hard to imagine on a bright spring morning the terrible event that happened nearly 70 years ago. Nature has taken over the once barren landscape and the primroses and violets bloom again. But we shall never forget.
More research today. There have been many articles in newspapers over the years since the explosion but this section from The Uttoxeter Advertiser and Ashborne Times seems quite underplayed in the circumstances. It was two days after the incident on 1913th day of the war. It reports the events as known at the time but even as this was written they were still recovering bodies. It might seem morbid to go over all the reports in so much detail but I feel I can only do the exhibition justice if I know as much as possible. Going to the crater tomorrow and feeling a little apprehensive already.
When I started researching this project I perhaps naively never thought that my enquiries would be met with such enthusiasm but today again proved what a passion there is for keeping these memories alive. Tutbury Museum is small but filled with local history including the Fauld disaster. The Gypsum mine adjacent to RAF Fauld was flooded after the explosion causing many fatalities here is a snapshot of some of the museum's gypsum artefacts. My real purpose here was to explore some of their archives and uncover some more history about the personal losses to local families. I get the feeling that even after all these years, some are reluctant to pass on their memories. They are perhaps still too painful for those who are now in their latter years, and best left forgotten. Rather that some morose regurgitating of historic facts I would like my exhibition to be a proud remembrance of those who lost their lives.
Nearly 70 years ago on 27 November 1944 as huge explosion changed the face of a small village in Staffordshire forever. This is the memorial at the edge of the crater showing the names of those who lost their lives.
In my first solo exhibition I will be reflecting on this disaster and the families affected. Please follow my blog to keep updated with my work as it develops.
Wirksworth Festival 2013 starts this Friday 6th September have a look at the website for all the event details.
I am very proud to be one of the artists in the graduate showcase, if you would like to see some of my work come along to the Parish Room.
Well it's been a busy week installing work and taking work to a local commercial gallery. I haven't had much time to visit the field but look who came to join me when I was drying some of my last finds. A beautiful peacock butterfly landed long enough for me to take this snapshot. I am still washing and examining more intriguing fragments and doing a bit of research at the same time. I found an interesting article which discusses why pottery shards were used on arable land. It seems it was a common practice to improve the soil. My query is where does all the pottery come from and why is it so diverse? More research needed I think. Another problem I am facing is I am not sure if the land is common land or who the owner is. I have contacted two possibilities at the moment but not having much joy. I am a bit addicted to collecting the fragments now so don't want to any problems using them for my work. To anyone who may be reading this I hope you have a lovely weekend and I will catch up with you next week.
After yesterdays finds I was inspired to find out a bit more about them. This is an image of the whole marmalade jar. If you are interested more in the history of the pottery company that made it I have attached a link below. http://www.maling-pottery.org.uk/index.html
Now this is not at all remarkable it was common jar and I only have a fragment of the original but it shows that if you really want to find out more about anything you can. You can see further than what is in on the surface.
Intrigued by such a variety of finds I went to the field again and there were even more unusual artefacts. They have no value and if I thought that I was interrupting some sort of important archaeology I would go to the authorities to declare my finds, but it is just a piece of wasteland where people walk their dogs. The field has been cleared recently and nearby they have started building new houses so perhaps this is the fate of this piece of land too.
You might be thinking at this point, what has this go to do with art? Well I have no pre-existing idea of the final outcome of my work, which is how I think it should be, but I do know these fragments of our history and the little clues they give to the reality of our everyday existence is my main focus. If the viewer only sees a small section of the surface what can they know about the whole picture? Getting a bit deep now and I don't want to get too much into any sort of philosophy at the moment.
I found some unusual pieces today and not just china. Here are some pictures to keep you up to date. Let me know what you think.
Do you ever have those days when nothing seems to be sparking in your brain. Creative juices have disappeared and you just want to sit and do nothing? Well I have had many of those days, and then all of a sudden you end up having lots of new ideas and everything seems to be inspiring you. I am in the fortunate position of having lots of ideas at the moment so I thought I would start off my new blog with one of them.
I am loosely calling my new project Fragments at the moment. This is just a working title and I am just going to see where it leads me. Up until now most of my work has been on canvas and the visual play between the work and the viewer, but how we judge what we see has been the main focus. With this project I am moving away or at least creating work alongside the two-dimensional.
Fragments is starting with a collection of pottery shards and other items found in the soil near my home yesterday. I was amazed at how many I found and the variety of designs, colours, materials that were randomly scattered on the surface. They are not valuable but still fascinating snippits of our social history. I have taken a lot of photographs and these are just a few to show you. The central fragment has the word Keiller on it and after a little research found that it was from a marmalade jar circa 1892. I found this out with such little effort, I could have just judged it by it surface and not found out more. But that is what we do most of the time.