This Series is a Collaboration with Photographer and Documentary Cameraman Stephen Foote. Click on any picture to see it full size.
Stephen Foote and I met up after 30 years in 2014. We were good friends as teenagers, both rather disengaged with school, both making art in our own time. 30 years on we both still use art work as a major part of our interaction with this nutty world. Sharing our images was a key way we got to know each other again and harnessing that process in a joint project was simply a way of capturing a what was occurring naturally. We set a straightforward ” Artist Responds to Landscape ” brief and kept a very open mind while we walked, talked, Steve took pictures and I just took it all in. We met every few months and sent each other pictures of the ensuing work in-between times.
Steve is also a Cameraman and was involved in filming for Panorama during the early, very heated phase in Kiev and the Crimea. I was coming to the end of the Up Is Down Series . Our first visit was Bracelet Bay, Mumbles, Swansea. Then we went into Porth Yr Ogof caves and had a mind-blowing day for me; we spent hours in the dark, natural cave while Steve took a fab series of photographs. I stood in the river in the darkness, held the lights and listened to the flow of water, felt the under-ground breezes. From there the project clarified for us as the travels of the water from the sky above the Brecon Beacons to the river, especially the Tawe, down to the wide bay at Swansea, and out into the Ocean where much of it will return to the clouds and begin the circle again.
These pictures are roughly in sequence for the progression of work over time, with Steve’s Photos next to the related Sculptures in some cases.
It was this fabulous picture of Bracelet Bay by Steve that shifted me abruptly into figures, much to my own surprise.
A narrative developed that was also influenced by the awesome storms of the previous winter. A trio of figures, the Guardians of the Aquasphere, the Lithosphere and the Atmosphere, arose and they and their Sentinels and Harbingers took on characteristics that the many life-forms of the Biosphere could relate to so that all would understand what was happening; The Triumvirate were going to let loose their forces. This was not to threaten or punish. They simply knew it was time.
Each sphere over laps with the others. The Biosphere is particularly inter-woven with the other 3 spheres with the addition of sun-light. I started looking at forms and ways to describe the Biosphere’s part of this story…the whole project is marvellously challenging! I’m far from sure I can pull this off but I’m loving the attempts. Steve’s stunning photographs seem to contain the whole mysterious narrative, characters and all, and I refer to them daily.
Here’s some links to interesting, key parts of the research for the Landscape Series:
How the Earth Made Us, a fantastic BBC 2 series by Professor Iain Stewart.
-An interesting article put out in 2016: Business Insider Australia
-here’s that information with a really interesting, informative video of leading scientist, James Hansen explaining the findings.
The Atmosphere over the Lithosphere in the form of an Osprey.
The Lithosphere has The Wyvern, a shape-shifting dragon that has taken a number of forms so far.
These are fantastic years in the Studio; I am harnessing the narrative and collective sides of the monumental Community Sculptures of the last 13 years. But I’m free to use any scale. The architectural clays I use have given me the freedom to go anywhere in space. My amazing collection of Sculptor and Ceramist friends, from all over the world, on Facebook have encouraged and inspired me enormously. I’m settled into my lovely big Studio ( and gotten over the shock of having it at last!). Stephen and I communicate very well and we egg each other on.
Many thanks to everyone who has visited the work and given invaluable advice and feed-back. We will continue with this series of sculptures until it is done. I will add new images as they become available so that a progression is shown.
I have been chasing a surface that will describe the 3 spheres. I have added earth pigments in a binder to add soft, natural colours and a silky texture.
‘The Land’ sculptures are very much about the Brecon Beacons, the area around Osprey Studios. They combine all the spheres.
August 2017 and the focus is currently on Antarctica:
This fascinating article by Randall Morris about Masks describes the process that I am trying to work through here. I have learnt a great deal from Randall since joining Cavin Morris Gallery. His amazing collection and beautiful writing brings clarity to, and pin points the essence of, what is important in art. I am an animist by nature and it is my job to portray what I see but the distractions can be over-whelming.