My current paintings and tapestries orbit my longstanding artistic concerns: scientific and religious metaphors; totems; belief and believability. These are the things that I consider to shape my awareness of life, life’s arena and life after death.
One such totem is the loaf of bread; bread ties in all of these concerns and features frequently in my work. Its metaphorical significance is twofold: String Theory proposes a model of the ‘Multiverse’ as the shape of a loaf of sliced bread, suggesting that our universe is one of numerous worlds, floating in parallel in a higher dimensional space - a slice in a grander cosmic loaf. Bread also plays a role in religious ritual, most notably in the Western Christian belief in the transubstantiation of the Body of Christ within the taking of bread at mass. The absurd, to my mind, broadly encapsulates both of these in that they are two examples of ‘Man’s futile search for meaning and clarity in the face of an unintelligible world’. The absurd, outlined here by Camus is defined by the moment when a human appetite for the absolute and for unity meets the impossibility of reducing the world to a rational principle.
There is a common awareness throughout much of my work of ‘high’ and ‘low’ art. This historic distinction and its ongoing relevance is something that I have experimented with for several years. I try to investigate the value judgments associated with these classifications by making art that encompasses techniques, references and effects which blend ‘high’ and ‘low’ to the extent that that this binary division begins to collapse.
Human beings are investors of meaning and I have therefore been looking at objects to which we give significant meaning - teddy bears. Soft, neutered, furry vessels filled with context by their owners, are made to mean more than just inert manufactured things. The child's teddy bear is an early totem, particularly seductive, because, to gesture towards Lacan, it emerges from the real, yet straddles the imaginary and the symbolic.
There have been few animals that have sparked such fascination as the bear. This majestic creature has become a powerful icon within the human consciousness. Bears are able to traverse the boundary between the human and the non-human: they stand and occasionally walk bipedal, heel to toe, leaving human-like footprints; they display affection by petting during courtship; discipline and nurse their cubs; and are inquisitive. Much mythological and even religious significance has been ascribed to these anthropomorphous qualities. Ursa Major, ‘The Great Mother Bear’ a prominent pattern of bright stars was named about 50,000 after years ago when the Palaeolithic bear cult existed.
My main threads of interest often manifest themselves in objects associated with domesticity. My intention is that the transition from the celestial arena to the terrestrial setting of domesticity may bring tangibility to theories that exist in the boundaries beyond my reality.