Since taking on a studio in which I can make a mess and use oil paints, I have been trying to work out exactly how I might use paint to generate images, especially in relation to the still growing Digital Rain collection. My idea was to explore how an ‘analogue rain’ might be made, but first I needed to understand the medium. Aside from that I have been going through workbooks and chopping them up as well as rescuing abandoned drawings and ideas to see who they can be repurposed.
While I am aware that I have developed a practice founded on drawing works of art by others and have has some success in that, it is clear to me that I need to generate something new and not just repeat the work of others. I also know it’s not as simple as that. My repetitions were designed to explore a set of ideas and, during my PhD research, served that purpose well. I’m keen to drag old work into the new and to find ways of recycling imagery as well as physical things that remain unsold.
The image above is an almost complete pencil drawing I made of Pierre Puvis de Chavannes The Poor Fisherman covered in red oil paint (diluted with a lot of linseed oilP and then overlaid with a network of lines in marker pen. It’s an experiment, bit I’m pleased with the way the drawings shows through and with the way the marker pen lines sink into the paper, aided by the oil. I think I’m on to something.
Years ago I stopped painting. I dabbled a little when I began my PhD research (and even had one piece shortlisted for the John Moores painting prize) but soon tuned to drawing as my primary way of making work. Part of that decision was convenience; getting into the studio wasn’t easy and I needed to make work at home and preferably in he evening and at weekends. That meant developing something relatively clean and not too big. Hence the multi-panel drawings.
Since completing the PhD my work has become more complex and colourful. The collaboration with Chris Graham opened up the possibility of art historical references free-associating with more contemporary global issues. The Digital Rain work has been a place to explore picture-making and has been a rehearsal for something material. In short, I’ve been thinking about turning to painting for a few months as a way of addressing the territory that Digital Rain covers. To do this I have taken a studio at Bloc in central Sheffield. Initially I simply played with the paint to see what it could do, or rather what I could do with it. over the past couple of weeks I have begun to make work that seems to be more resolved, and which is pictured here.
At the moment I’m letting my nose and the material enquiry guide my work, but I am already beginning to think about how these things might make their way into the world. I hope you like them.
I’ve started making an actual-size drawing of Pieter Bruegel’s painting Netherlandish Proverbs. In common with the other large pencil drawings I’ve made of extant art works, it will consist of squared panels (forty-eight this time) and emerge over time. I’ll keep updating the image above as more panels are drawn.
Since October last year I’ve been making the Digital Rain series of work. It’s grown and grown – too big to post here in detail, but I post almost everything on Instagram and Twitter, so you can follow my progress there.
Last weekend I made a fifteen minute video that explains how I made one of the series – posted above – and posted it on YouTube. My speech is a bit clipped as I had to slightly speed it up to upload it. When I started making it I didn’t know what I was going to make which is in line with the improvised nature of the project.
…of the workbooks I periodically use to push ideas forward. I don’t keep sketchbooks in the traditional sense but instead I use hardback notebooks as scrapbooks for drawings, collected material, notes, and conflations of all three. I don’t use them all the time and don’t finish one before moving onto another. Occasionally I take time to stick a batch of stuff in and then work on the surface created. There are usually extra pages, bits of tracing paper and so on which can make for a complicated experience of looking. I worked for a printer and then a publisher before returning to art practice and I still have an interest in making books or book-like documents and this improvised production – which doesn’t really have any meaning – taps into that. Even if the books don’t have meaning, they do have purpose. By working and re-working the pages over and over again ideas collide and interrupt one another which can generate ideas for exhibiting or for new work.
I’m making short films – slideshows really – and posting them on my YouTube channel. You can find the first two here:
Each film is taken form a separate book (one A4 and one A5). It’s unlikely that these books will be immune to further amendment.
I will be giving an artist talk during the evening event on the 16th. Entrance to this event and the exhibition is free and all are welcome.
The evening event if from about 5pm on June 16th. I will be talking about the work at the start of this event.
The gallery is open on the 17th between 11am and 4pm.
All the works are for sale (unframed). 50% of any money raised will be donated to Bank Street Arts.
In addition to this ALL the money raised from the auction of my drawing of Guernica will go to Bank Street Arts. If you would like to bid for this drawing please email in confidence at email@example.com. The drawing will go to the highest bidder over the reserve price of £1500.
Large works to be shown include:
After Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights (pictured above)
After Pablo Picasso’s Guernica (pictured below)
After Caravaggio’s The Incredulity of St Thomas
After Walker Evans’ and Sherrie Levine’s Annie Mae Burroughs
After Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa
After Joseph Beuys’ Wirstschaftswerte (Economic Values) II
There will also be a selection of smaller works on display. All the works are drawings of art works by others.
A PDF of a catalogue/ price list is available for download here.