For the last few years I've written a short verse considering the incoming year, and the Independent has been kind enough to publish it for me. I struggled this time to find much that's positive in the prevailing political landscape, so have taken the long view.
'An Ode to 2020'...You canread it here at the bottom of the page >>
..."1991 will always be unforgettable for me too, as the year when the Republic of Kazakhstan was born amid the shock and turbulence resulting from the collapse of the Soviet Union. It is in 1991 that modern Kazakhstan was founded, establishing the priorities and principles which have guided us on the long road we have walked since then..."
So goes an excerpt from the reply I recently received from ambassador Erlan Idrissov.
Kazakhstan is the first country to reply to my appletye.org 100 years of paper project, and the ambassador very kindly also sent me a map of the countries born that year. Have to say I was genuinely moved to receive it. I wasn't sure if any country would reply, but to receive even one response (and such an uplifting one) is truly appreciated.
100 pieces of heritage paper spanning over 100 years, have been given to 100 artists to create a piece of work. I have been invited by appletye.org to make a work that relates to a piece of paper from 1991. Towards the close of '91, one rather large event dominates - namely, the dissolution of the Soviet Union. I decided to divide the paper into 15 pieces and send a piece to each of the 15 union republics of the former Soviet Union, attached to an explanatory letter. The form of the final piece will depend on whether I receive a response from all or any of the republics. I have not yet decided if it will be audio visual or more physical in presentation.
"There are many things I could have done with this fragment of paper – but in the end I decided to look outwards, to give it away, in much the same spirit as it has been given to me. This act reflects the use of paper as a vehicle for communication across the preceding centuries. It is a small gesture, and one which has no overt ‘political’ intent. It is simply a token of good will towards you and all the citizens of your country." (extract from the covering letter)
Working towards the 'Neither Use Nor Ornament' group exhibition at Oxfordshire Visual Arts Development Agency in Oxford (OVADA)- opening 30th March 2019.
My piece includes a re-imagining of a Victor Burgin poster from 1976 which I reference in a series of seven posters, plus an imagined heath centre made from cardboard. All will become clear if you make it down to the show.
This installation is a collaboration with psychotherapist Dave Edwards and takes as its subject matter a street in the west end of Newcastle which we both formerly lived in.
The Dog Ate my Wheelchair is now no longer on the streets of Newcastle, but can be found online if you care to take a look. Here is my favourite >>
I will be adding more into the main site shortly. My blog on the AN site is also here >>
if you care to get my take on how the piece developed, including some of the challenges we faced.
...is a multi-screen video piece that I've been working on
with 6 participants who identify as ‘disabled’ or ‘different’ as a result of
mental and/or physical health impairments. Disability North have acted as
It comprises 4 screens placed around the centre of Newcastle
- one in a shop window, one in a bus station and two in the central library.
All the videos are now mastered and I'm currently arranging the installations,
along with window vinyls.
The idea is that the piece offers glimpses into the lives of
others and, being away from the gallery context, it is more embedded in the
city and so should be seen by a wider demographic. It is part of the art trail
for the Great Exhibition of the North (who have part funded it). We launch on
1st Aug so fingers crossed it all goes to plan! More on this once the project
I am using some photos I took in 1977 as the starting point for research around the Caroline Street Project. During the process of finding out where my young subjects are now, I was approached by Newcastle's Evening Chronicle to see if I needed any assistance. As it turns out that was very helpful, gleaning some public profile for this new work and engaging quite a few people from the area. See the article here >>
Following on from last years effort at the turn of the year - I thought I would give it another go.
Top of the page this time... my little ditty calling for a little bit of love and understanding this coming year.
Thanks again to the Independent for putting it out there for me - take a peek here >>
“Some museums live in our cupboards and imaginations, awaiting their moment of arrival”
A small group of artists who use objects as an element of their practice came together a while ago and began sharing and discussing their work on the AN website.
Artist Sonia Boué was the facilitator and I, along with Sonia and another 6 artists, shared our common interest. Add to this my friend and collaborator Dave Edwards, and you have the group.
So - with the assistance of Arts Council England funding, a new website is born. It is hoped this will act as the first initiative in a more public profile - leading to group shows and public discussion. Visit it here: www.museumforobjectresearch.com
It's nice when something is actually printed these days rather than just being online. I am very happy to say that the very first numbered, limited edition print run of the magazine Sculptorvox is available for pre-order. It includes an article considering my Caroline Street collaboration with psychotherapist Dave Edwards, putting it into the context of my past and present work.
This edition is themed around the concept of 'The Geometry of Nothing' so it's a neat conceptual fit with my preference for using a state of 'nothingness' as an entry point to further examination.
I have begun another piece - one that looks at how three forms of representation have travelled through time with the people they represent.
First there is the daughter of 20th Century painter Sir Stanley Spencer (Unity Spencer) and the doll that she was painted holding at the age of seven. Then there is a young man (Laurie Spacie) who, at the age of four, was imagined in pastels by his step father as an older person. He is now somewhere near the age he was imagined. Then there is me. My representation considers a video portrait I made of myself 36 years ago.
It will all make more sense if you read the blog I have begun on the AN website >>
In the mid 70s I lived in a flat in Benwell - one of the poorer areas of Newcastle. It no longer exists, and somewhat in the same vein as my Hartlepool Ballroom installation, it is now a not very well cared for patch of open grassland.
There are plans for a small number of object research based artists to put together a group show and, along with my longtime friend and psychotherapist Dave Edwards, who also lived in this flat, we are planning a piece for this show which considers the flat as an object, a subject for recall and re-examination in the present day.
The area reminds me of a beach.. where all kinds of 'random' objects are deposited. These will be a starting point...
Twenty sixteen was not a good year. On a whim I sent a short verse to the Independent - who published it on new year's day on the letters page.
The detail is true - the sentiment is authentically mine - but these few words could never sum up how much of a challenge the changes in this last year present to so many people for the future. My only other thought on the subject is that adversity can perhaps be the generator of positive change.
As I have recently launched a new website that profiles some of my work - from now on, this space will be used more as a true blogging update.
So... my latest project involves working with a couple of groups whose participants have varying degrees of dementia. The idea is to continue my concerns with narrative structure and what constitutes 'truth' or otherwise, but to develop this with the groups.
I am collaborating with Mike Jones, a group facilitator with a lot of experience in this field. At the moment we are trialing a few ideas and hope to secure funding for a pilot project. The participants thus far seem very keen to work in this way and feedback suggests they are getting positive effects from our work. Ultimately I want to produce a piece which is of major gallery significance - a work which will also raise the profile of people who it is very easy to forget (and I use that word consciously in this context!)
newcastle upon tyne, tyne and wear, United Kingdom
My work has at its core a concern for the inherent contradiction between image making and the impossibility of holding time. Being engaged in the perpetual construction of history fuels what I do.
I predominantly use video and photography, but will use other media when appropriate to the subject - having written music and made all manner of artefacts to bring a piece into being.
I was an early adopter of open reel b/w video production in the mid 70’s, with occasional residencies at broadcast TV stations and educational departments, notably 18months at Brighton Poly as the Arts Council’s Video Artist in residence. During the 80’s I exhibited and toured my work extensively around the world and, amongst many others, had my work shown in the ICA, Tate, Air and Serpentine galleries in the UK, and in many international festivals globally.
Much of my work in the 90’s was commercial – working with computer graphics and 3D animation. I received an RTS award for television graphics in 1996 and was a winner of the Fuji professional distinctions photography awards in 2003/04. Video Work purchased by the National Gallery of Canada and the British Film Institute.