Thursday, 9 December 2010

Quality books



All come highly recommended!

Alan Watts: A Conversation with Myself- Part 2

My favourite section. (I would recommend watching the whole thing if you have time.)

Masters show

                                                                                                Piece and Loaf, 2009
                                                                       You're not in El Dorado Anymore, 2009
                                                                                                                              Cosmic Soup II, 2009
                                                                                                           The Proverbial Red Sheep, 2009
                                                                                                                                Sweet Lumina, 2009

“We are neither pure nor wise nor good, we'll do the best we know, we'll light our fires and plant our trees and make our garden grow."
- Leonard Bernstein’s Candide

My practice is driven by the concept of Utopia on earth and how it may only be enforced through the process of re- enchantment: a joyous appreciation of the natural wonder that exists in everyday life. I believe that re- enchantment manifests itself in an awareness of history, the divine and an understanding of natural rhythms. As we progress further and further it is has become fruitless to believe that our quest for meaning is a sort of ‘jigsaw puzzle’ that we will one day complete. This exciting revelation has encouraged me to reject the philosophies of success and achievement in a pragmatic sense and welcome instead the notion that man is capable of supporting himself through a sustained sense of wonder. 

My visual practice ranges from drawing and painting to sculpture and installation. Sources of research include literature such as the writings of George Mackay Brown, Thomas Moore and Barbara Ehrenreich and an interest in religious belief and philosophical enquiry.

“Reclaiming the Garden:” (2009) was a gallery installation that explored contentment and awe through visual narrative. I am very interested in the restoration of the self through sensation and this installation combined heat and light with texture and sweet smells. Included in this was the floor piece ‘Piece and Loaf:’ (2009) in which I painted directly onto bread and pastries in order to dress up the most basic foodstuff until it became inedible whilst retaining its natural smell. This approach was a play on imagery from the mythical land of Cockaigne[1] but manages to capture the satire of Voltaire’s Candide as brioche whirls take on the appearance of fake ‘turds’ and croissants are transformed into cartoon crabs.

 Humour aside, this work inevitably remarks upon Jesus’ teaching: “I am the bread of life.” This, juxtaposed with George Mackay Brown’s comment that this “image has a universal meaning for me, especially since I can stand among the ripening fields all summer,” fully conveys my ideals as an artist. My personal ‘ripening field’ appears when I am able to make something of wonder from modest means.

[1] The mythical land of Cockaigne was a medieval peasant’s dream, where there were no worries or work and everything was fruitful and abundant. Streets were paved with bread, rivers flowed with sweet wine and residents were paid for being idle.

“It’s a joy I want to get closer to, to understand and in some ways, to fulfil.”
-Stanley Spencer on his time in Port Glasgow

I completed a project in my birthplace of Port Glasgow entitled “Tea for Talk:” an informal chat with residents in a local charity cafĂ© on the subject of Spencer’s life and legacy. His Port Glasgow Resurrections[1] have become a tribute to the strong community spirit that still exists in many parts of Inverclyde. My main aim was to spread awareness of the town’s strong artistic heritage, which has largely been ignored over years of economic uncertainty. Art education for the masses is a pressing issue in contemporary Scotland and I believe that the only way forward is for artists to engage as much as possible with small- town communities. 

“We inhabit a place when we give something to it and when we can open ourselves to receive what it has to offer.” –Alan Moore

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Undergraduate Images

I completed my degree in Fine Art from Duncan of Jordanstone, University of Dundee in 2008. Here are a few images from third year up to my degree show. I wont bore you with much other than the fact that I was looking at the work of Henri Michaux, Aldous Huxley, Lee Krasner and Xu Bing amongst others. Plus a bit of Aboriginal Art. Lots of automatic drawing and mark-making....and no, I didn't take mescaline.

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