In this quick introduction to my work, some selected ‘Highlights’ have been classified by medium (Drawing, Painting, Sculpture, Photoworks and Printmaking). By comparison, work shown in the ‘Artworks’ thread has been classified mainly by date.
Drawing: Lear and Cordelia (1977)
This drawing was an early product of several initiatives: 1) a burst of intensive self-tuition in anatomy and copying of classical works illustrated in art books, 2) a longstanding desire to treat Shakespearean themes, 3) a desire to revive History painting, including the expressive nude. These are all still incomplete projects, each subject to periodic revivals in my sketchbooks and occasionally in finished works, most often as prints.
Painting: Shark in Gillnet (1988)
This painting was inspired by a television documentary about the pointless damage inflicted on marine wildlife by gillnets, in which mammals such as dolphins and seals were drowned alongside sharks. The sharks die because they are trapped, unable to keep swimming forwards, which is necessary for them to ‘breathe’.
Sculpture: Three Dolphins (1988)
This sculpture was also inspired by world-wide environmental concern in the Eighties, in this case for the long-term survival of dolphins, given the methods for catching tuna fish. Was the human race going to ‘bury’ the dolphin? This sculpture was exhibited in Cannon Hill Park in Birmingham, where it was possible to site the fins in a large enough area of grass to give the illusion of an expanse of water, with the fins protruding from the surface.
Photoworks: From St George’s to Sainsbury’s (1987-96)
When we moved to Wolverhampton in 1971, I was moved by this blackened, battered and derelict parish church. Each spring, as I whizzed past it on the inner ring road, I was entranced by its lines of flowering cherry trees, pink against its sooty walls. One spring, after several years of procrastination, I made a set of 35 mm slides of the church, the flowering cherry trees and its graveyard. In 1984 I made a 6 foot by 4 foot oil painting of one of the bricked up windows. A few years later, the bulldozers moved in, as builders ‘converted’ the old church into a supermarket, the graveyard into a car park. I took hundreds of photographs as the building was eviscerated, washed down, and refashioned. When the shoppers came in, I returned to the same place to photograph the same section of the south wall. Almost ten years later, I used these two photographs to make this photographic diptych.
Printmaking: In the Deep (1994)
This print was inspired by a rapturous videotape of the Great Barrier Reef sent by Maggie’s relatives, to tempt us to visit them ‘down under’. I made the plate on an excellent two-day ‘Collagraph’ course at Birmingham Print Workshop, taught by Anne Irby Crews.The videotape that inspired this abstract composition was through-composed in a contemporary style, without voice-over. The printing of all the colours seen took place simultaneously, using both intaglio technique (where the background, blue, ink is ‘rubbed in’ and then wiped away selectively) and relief print inking, where the ink is applied to the high points of the plate, in this case using inks of both high (red and green) and low viscosity (yellow).