My work uses cardboard, tin cans plastics and cardboard tubes usually destined for the waste bin. The fragile resemblances that I produce with their torn, folded and glued sections are crude, insubstantial, spray painted copies, three-dimensional jigsaws, connected and disconnected fragments of machines displayed as museum artefacts. They fit into a sort of 'Blue Peter aesthetic' and are based on the naive and fragile fabrications emanating from a child's imagination. In the adult real world they represent the empty factory, devoid of workers and machines, the capricious nature of employment and empty promises of a better future.
My cardboard machines represent the old industry that has succumbed to the forces of globalisation. They are devoid of working parts like the deserted factory buildings and vanished skills, they display the hopelessness of redundancy. The work is designed to trigger nostalgia and memories of a past era of industrial skill.
The models act as empty signifiers and metaphors for the economic destruction of industry. They are concerned with the fragile nature of the material as a metaphor for the passing of time, reminding the viewer of the ephemeral and finite nature of things. The use of cardboard and other humble materials can be seen as a metaphor for the elevation of the underprivileged social classes (Mario Merz.) For sometime now my work has been evolving into three-dimensional painting, sitting within the tradition of 'still life' and Rosalind Krauss' sculpture in the expanded field.
My paintings and drawings represent a celebration of the industrial process, the machine aesthetic and a remembering of a past industrial age with its craftsmanship, skills and camaraderie. I use encaustic wax, oil paints and acrylics on canvas to build texture and create that elusive feeling of the substance of things.
According to Greenberg, realistic, naturalistic art had dissembled the painting medium, using art to conceal art. The flat surface, the shape of the support and the properties of the pigment were treated by the Old Masters as negative factors that could be acknowledged only implicitly or indirectly.
Flatness alone was unique and exclusive to pictorial art, it being the only condition painting shared with no other art.
Modernist painting oriented itself to flatness and the enclosed shape of the picture frame as normal limiting conditions. Using art to call attention to art and the limitations that constituted the painting medium such as stressing the unavoidable flatness of the surface came to be regarded as positive factors.
Using the computer to generate art results in a printed poster effect more akin to graphic design than fine art. The monitor displays a flat, enclosed surface and the computer dispenses pure pixellated and electronically generated colour with the use of the mouse, rather than the loaded brushes of traditional pigment.
Fritz Lang's film "Metropolis" from a story by Theo von Harbou and Wells' heavily politicised industrial state of the future "The Shape of Things to Come," helped shape and position my genre.
Qualifications and training
- 2006 MA Fine Art, University College Chester (Liverpool University), Chester
- 2000 BA Fine Art (Hons) 1st class, John Moores University, (Wirral Metropolitan College)
- 2012 Pop Up Dorset, St Georges Church,, Portland, Dorset
- 2010 "Arts Exhibition", Heritage centre, Verwood, Dorset
- 2005 "Alumni" exhibition, Liverpool University School of Art, Senate House, Liverpool
- 2004 "Identified", Main Artery Gallery, The Brasserie 10/16, Chester
- 2002 "Exhibit X", Jump Ship Rat,, Liverpool
- 2002 "Urbis" Manchester Art Exhibition, Cathedral Gardens, Manchester, Manchester
- 2006 MA fine art degree exhibition, University of Chester
- 2004 Fellowship Exhibition, Wirral Metropolitan College, Williamson Art Gallery, Birkenhead
- 2003 Residency (fellowship), Wirral Metropolitan College, Twelve Quays, Birkenhead