The discreet spaces of the title of this exhibition are for me those insistent possible spaces that exist between the viewer and the vertical walls of the built environment which we inhabit for much of our lives. There is therefore a strong architectural emphasis in most of the works I am showing without it being overtly the subject of these wall sculptures. I use simple geometry and the drawn edges of shapes to trap specific spaces and then block them visually with different kinds of grids. After all space is merely the void until we define it.
Over many years of making sculpture, I have gradually become aware that different processes using different materials create various means of making tangible, visible forms of ideas, qualities and feelings. My shifting from one way of making to another has been until recently largely unconscious, I have simply sought solutions to conceptual problems that have arisen when thinking about what I want to say three dimensionally.
To quote Donald Judd, the great American artist: ‘Embodiment is the central effort of art – the way it gets made, very much something out of nothing’. And it is the making that gets me into the studio every day. Coming from a family of makers, it has been central to my life for as long as I can remember, and is pivotal to how I think of myself as an artist.
I use the agricultural tool as a metaphor for man’s relationship with landscape, attempting to explore the historic and contemporary link between the land and the built environment, particularly the relationship between the Norfolk landscape and its churches.
In Norfolk, a great deal of the huge wealth that came from working the land in the Middle Ages was committed to the building of churches: these churches are therefore an integral part of the landscape. The masons who built the churches lived with and worked alongside the labourers in the fields for extended periods of time and were at one with them. My sculpture attempts to use agricultural tools to reconstruct the relationship between the landscape and the churches of Norfolk.
Whilst also celebrating the rich variety and sophistication of the tools needed to work the land, the sculptures undermine our preconceptions about the nature of function and the man-made world we inhabit. The tools become the built fabric of the churches themselves.
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