This figure was originally made for a music event in Wanstead Park. The first manifestation was little more than the head mounted onto a pole which was garlanded with a sheet and flowers to depict a pagan deity. After this event I decided that I wanted to build a more substantial figure and so began long process of gathering driftwood from the around the shores of the UK. The figure came to this final shape after a period of five years, mostly because of the problems of finding suitable sized and shaped wood. Since its completion I have harboured a desire to make another figure of similar height, perhaps an Earth mother to accompany the Green man (although I feel that he has an ambiguous sexuality).
This is the Greenman erected on the Beetle Bump site at Docklands Campus. This is a piece of land that was discovered to be the habitat of a rare beetle and colleagues in the Biosciences department asked if it could be sited on the Bump to highlight the presence of this SSI (site of special scientific interest). I put him up on a concrete plinth in December 2013. Several days later a storm with 80 mph winds broke both of his ankles.
Probably not a aerodynamic enough for him spot then!
This page shows some of the sculptural work I have made over the past few years. I began making these things in cardboard as at the request of some local organisations who wanted props for social, charitable and theatrical events. After a while I found myself making more and more quirky objects out of corrugated cardboard, torn and stuck together with a glue gun. gradually this activity took on a life of its own with ever more ambitious objects. These objects form a part of a large work called ‘Vanitas’, an archaic term around the idea of memento-mori.
These objects form a part of a large work called ‘Vanitas’, an archaic term around the idea of memento-moro. This device is often used within historical still-life paintings. It proposes the idea that no matter how materially wealthy one becomes in life, all is evened out in death. The objects themselves often incorporate textual references; the globe, for example is circled with the words; ‘we seem to be going around in circles’.
This maybe a symptom of my own feelings of the mysteries of text (I discovered that I was dyslexic some 15 or so years ago).
The installation is framed and mounted on a platform of grey slate. These slates are actually shelves that housed the public records in Somerset House. I was able to recover some of these before most were skipped unfortunately.
The print on the back wall is redolent of the same concerns as the sculpture, skeletal forms in high colour.
I am reminded of a surgeon friend who remarked, “We are all the same on the inside.”
This piece is one of my first ventures into object making. After making some real books, the idea of a contained sequence, especially of images, fascinated me. But I was also I became intrigued by their material qualities. The book has often been used in art historical terms to depict learning or academic prowess and I began to feel that this symbol or signifier could point more humorously to the ambiguity of education as a marketable commodity.
Quoting Tony Blair’s famous,”Education, Education, Education.” remark seemed to perfectly sum up this dichotomy.
The red book piece contains a fragment of text from Percy Bysshe Shelly’s sonnet, “Ozymandias”. It is a reflection on the nature of hubris and power.
This shell represented a real challenge, it is about a metre long and made of cardboard. Making something, seemingly organic in such an unforgiving material represented quite a trial. I think there is a meditative aspect of struggling with materials that won’t readily bend to ones will that ignites my creative energy. Bloodymindedness is probably a strong motivator of creative problem solving. I recently read an article that talked of the need for humans to experience penitence to bring a sense of worth to life.
The title of this piece is a humorously analogy to our place in the scheme of things!