Darl-e and the Bear are proud to present ‘Awaken’ by Andy Bullock, an exhibition of new works that explore the ‘three stages of being’, with the the work and theories of mathematician Clifford Hugh Dowker (1912 - 82) providing the inspiration, beginning and foundations for this exhibition. In response to Dowker’s work on ‘knot theory’, Bullock created a series of ‘knot variation paintings’. These works are the result of an in depth fine art research-based project, that formed the core of his recently completed MFA. Alongside the ‘knot variation paintings’, Bullock will be showing sculpture, photography and film from the same body of work - which have awarded him the prestigious opportunity to exhibit at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford in 2022.
Knot theory is a tool which mathematicians use to compare, analyse and solve knots. The study of knots is also used by scientists to better understand DNA and genetics, which are the foundations of humanity and the basis of who we are. Knot theory provides scientists an insight into unknotting and reknotting various types of DNA, shedding light on how much time it takes certain enzymes to replicate DNA, a process that happens when cells divide. Knots can also be very useful in cryptography and security. The method weaves mathematical information from knots into encryption keys that allow users to decipher secret data encoded in security badges, mobile payment devices and much more.
Bullock’s ideas and art practice have slowly refined through this period of research, and during an extremely dark time in the first lockdown Bullock confronted his own mental health struggles by producing a graphic series of ‘late night paintings’. This new body of work, developed through the intense atmosphere of solitude, has shifted his focus to how humanity has coped during periods of extreme confinement, as a result of COVID-19.
These endeavours, however hard fought, have awakened Bullock to the wider problems our species face, in the ever closer destruction of our planet. In addition to Bullock’s own interest in our relationship with ‘The Anthropocene’, the geological epoch relating to the period that human beings have had an impact on our planet, there is an invariable link back to the beginnings and ‘knot theory’. Bullock’s ‘Bone Shadow paintings’ (part of his Legacy series) start to explore man’s future and our impact on the natural environment.
‘AWAKEN’ takes us on a journey through all three stages of deeper understanding, that the artist himself has ventured through.