Reflected sunlight and it's intensly powerful beauty personally represent an ethereal energy symbolising human spirit, hope, joy or life itself.
When combined with the power of the sun, the light from a mirror is such that it can be seen over 50 miles away. This potential enables large scale images across the landscape to be produced and has been utilised as a means of communication for centuries.
Recent pieces involving mirrors and the public include an Artwork called Ray of Hope which involved a kilometre long line of people spanning the U.S/Mexican border. Each participant wore a mirrored mask which reflected the sun to create a 1000 metre line of light bisecting the border wall.
Another significant mirror piece was called May Day which involved over 500 people with mirrors sending a symbolic SOS call across the English channel to mainland Europe. (This piece took place on the 29th of March 2019 the day which Brexit was first meant to happen. The location was the White Cliffs near Brighton an area situated between Leave and Remain counties.)
A third piece in this series involved an 80-metre circle of people with mirrors on the Northern Irish border as a show of unity in the face of potential border disruption leading up to the second Brexit leave date.
Along with migration and border issues, these large scale, participatory interventions also take the navigational forms of lay lines as an inspirational source; ancient and invisible routes across the country which form the basis of our present network of towns, transport links, place names and borders.
Territories and borders have been a present theme in my life from growing up along Offa’s Dyke (the historic border between England and Wales.)
Crossing over an invisible yet tangible border to go to school or the shops is a routine which although normal still feels unnatural. Subtle changes in street signs, building materials, accents and attitudes remain a fascination for me.
Navigational lines, borders, and inner mapping of the landscape whether rural or urban, physical or phycological is ingrained in my routine.
This environmental awareness has led me to appreciate and react to urban areas as if they were rural and the countryside as if it were a city. I find equal vitality within natural or man-made infrastructure and view their differing energies and waste products is a constant source of inspiration.
When working outdoors I aim towards playfulness by bringing members of the public together and including them within an artwork.
I attempt to break down personal space both physical and mental by creating a participatory experience and creating artworks which become embedded within people’s everyday life.
Embedding a piece in the environment so that it becomes a part of the community is something I value greatly.
Working in urban environments I find particularly rewarding. I thrive in the ever-present reality and critique of public interaction.
Installing pieces outside of the gallery space and subsequently leaving them exposed to interact with the world, puncture mundanity and confront conformity is something which interests me massively.
I hope to amplify humour and confusion, to put a smile on some people's faces and a frown on others.
I aim to pose questions about what is and can be considered an artwork.
I often utilise materials which are commonly found in the modern cityscape. Construction materials such as high visibility foam tubing and hazard tape are particularly prevalent in my work. I enjoy using these materials to create an overlap between utility and creativity and between familiarity and the surreal.
I see the outside world as the most challenging, natural and ancient of spaces to exhibit and work.
Assemblage / Collage
When working in the studio I utilise materials mostly found whilst walking in urban environments. I am drawn to items which retain an essence of the location within which they were discovered. Items which hold their own narrative, a past life visible through a particular patina or decay.
I have collected found objects for over 30 years now. This process began in childhood with collecting stones, fossils and artifacts found in ploughed fields along the Welsh border. Litter also had great impact on me as a child. In a rural environment a discarded crisp packet becomes something so obvious that it demands to be picked up. Occasionally this litter may be a handwritten note or train ticket which betrays the history of its previous owner and elevates it to become part of a collection.
I view my compulsion to pick up litter as similar to treasure hunting or contemporary archaeology. I receive a genuine thrill from finding a broken shard of, metal, glass or plastic which holds it's own story and somehow begs me to pick it up.
These objects inevitably form collections which can broadly be categorised into four types: Unique items, multiple items, talismanic treasures, or convas'.
Unique objects such as handwritten notes, shopping lists or items which have been twisted or torn through nervous anxiety often hold a biographical echo of their past owner or place it was found.
Multiple items such as arms of spectacles, beer bottle caps, nitrous oxide cannisters or destroyed credit cards etc. take on further utility/importance when gathered in great numbers.
When amassed in quantity these items can become units from which larger objects can be made.
Quantity itself can aslo be a powerful reflection of the wastfulness or brutality of humanity.
Talismanic objects or treasures could be archaeological artifacts, natural items found in places of importance or which resemble living things.
They may titilate my inner Magpie and be interesting for their patina, shine or sheer beauty. This category is broad and can take any form or scale whilst incorporating a wide-range of materials.
The resulting assemblages act as personal diary, social anthropological record, objects of curiosity and historic document of place.