“My camera-based practice has evolved from a desire to reduce my environmental impact – the work alludes to universal Romantic themes, allied to an environmental sensibility.
Each series seeks to illustrate the frail residue of the contemporary wilderness through reduced visions of the sublime within localized nature.
Examination is given to the space between the world that people inhabit and that which nature still claims as its own. In this intermediary space I seek to explore the essence of the human spirit and its relationship with nature.
Currently I am exploring two new sections of my practice namely ‘Westing’ a series of seascapes made on the western side of the UK, named after Henry David Thoreau’s book Walking, in which he suggests that people, like animals, are drawn to the west on account of its curative powers as well as the direction of the sun. Works have been made so far in western Wales, Arran Scotland and Cornwall – Combe Martin and its environs represent a natural extension.
The other exploration entitled ‘Surface’ is a deep meditation on the transformative powers of nature exploring land/light and water. One of the aims being to persuade that there are other more alluring distractions than the ubiquity of mobile technology that I have come to think of as monastic disorder. Recent reading of Albert Camus’ notebooks from 1946 in which he states ‘Today mankind needs and cares only for technology’ would suggest this is not only a contemporary phenomena.
In keeping with established working practice I have sought to make as much work as possible within walking distance of the residency.”
“My projects in photography, however varied, share the distinction that they are all the result of some protracted response to place. I am also intimately aware of the many important photographic projects that take an aspect of the English landscape as its subject: Killip in the north, Parr in the south, and Jem Southam in the south west.
I am interested in the way history radiates in the background of the present. As a photographer I am trying to reconcile the visual appearance of surfaces and spaces with their connections to a social and political past. To this end my process involves two acts of mining: one acquainting myself with a place through its literature, its myths, and economic realities. And the other by photographing exhaustively, an act that I increasingly associate with my sense of touch. Working primarily with a 4x5 inch film camera as well as high resolution digital cameras, I begin with a sort of wide net and what photographer Henry Wessel calls “soft eyes.” I expose hundreds of photographic plates, feeling my way around what seems essential to rendering the subject. The net narrows once I’ve found a series of promising visual ingredients and a photographic language with which to deal with them. If working in winter I welcome the atmospheric density found in short and cold coastal days.
Please spend some time with some of the projects on my site, particularly Local Weather about a county in north east Kansas, or City Pictures where I’ve adopted an aerial point of view to render the architecture of New York and Boston at night. Each project begins without a defined goal but ultimately is developed into a cohesive body of work.
My interest in this residency has everything to do with the time to focus on new work in a new place. The only thing I require is a place to sleep.”
“In the past couple of years my work has focused on geology – working with rocks and minerals and investigating geological environments and processes. Combe Martin with its rock beds formed in the Devonian period and historic silver mines was an ideal location for connecting my work to the geological and human history of the region.
My interest in minerals developed during a residency in Austria in 2016. I became fascinated by mineral samples – how their crystalline internal geometries formed determining their physical properties in a way that felt fundamental to understanding time and process. My work there centred on grinding and polishing quartz samples into spheres. Earlier this year I participated in a residency in Scotland where I smelted copper from malachite samples. These were cast into small spheres and hammered flat to make discs. In both cases these objects were then displayed with the relevant embroidered dresses and process records.
I have developed a process based methodology that broadly involves: making a dress to be worn when performing a process; sourcing materials and developing process in response to the environment; documenting time and activity meticulously and embroidering dress with relevant pictograms and information; then displaying resulting object, dress and documentation.
In preparation for this residency I made a smock-dress to be worn and embroidered there. I became a member of Combe Martin Silver Mine Research and Preservation Society and participated in events there, investigating underground and collecting small samples.
Physically being involved with processes and materials is a big part of my practice and documenting how much time I spend doing this has become a natural part of my practice too. Documentation could take the form of video, photography, written document/spreadsheet and embroidery. (For example, for my recent ‘Copper Activity’ I weighed and measured 30 pieces of malachite; after smelting, I weighed and measured 30 lumps of copper; after melting and making copper into round balls using a bullet mold each time I weighed and measured; with 51 copper round balls, I hammered them to make 42 copper discs which were then weighed and measured; I also timed myself while I was smelting.
My interest in geological time has informed much of my recent practice. For example the ongoing work ‘hexagon activity’ has involved visiting the Giants Causeway and observing columnar jointing formed in the Palaeocene epoch. More broadly my work has always featured geometry, numbers and patterns alongside a thorough documentation of time. This connects strongly to ideas of deep time, processes and structures of which are revealed in geology.
These two videos below were shown as part of 'Mineral Sphere Activity.'
“My practice involves painting from collages of photographs of seaside environments, looking at the architecture and people in the holiday settings of British seaside towns. Details of these sorts of places fascinate me in their faded colours, textures and shapes, as well as tourist activities such as crazy golf. The scale of the figures within the landscape is important in looking at groups of people against seaside structures. I begin by taking photographs of tourists in the landscape, details of architecture and local styles. These photographs and my drawings become the reference material for my paintings. I have previously visited and gathered reference material from seaside towns in Kent, Essex, Cornwall and Sussex. The residency has given me the opportunity to explore a new coastal location in the form of Combe Martin and Ilfracombe.”