I live in the Welsh borders in the hills near Offa’s Dyke. I spend a lot of time out and about walking and cycling armed with a Ordinance Survey Map, sketchbook and camera. I look for inspiring places and images that have something about them and an emotional hook. Light is particularly important to me - the way in which it can transform something small, or illuminate a place in a curious or dramatic way. Always a painter, I returned to drawing several years ago and this has become my primary medium at the moment; I love the directness of drawing, the marks, the tonal variations and the capacity to build up layers and depth without the confusion that colour can sometimes bring to form. Having said this, I intend to pick up the paint brush as soon as the drawing deadlines permit.
Since I graduated from Exeter University in 1995 I’ve exhibited regularly in galleries, art fairs and other venues across the UK (there is an extensive list on my Bio page). I’ve also completed public commissions for both Somerset and Dorset NHS Trusts where a collection of my paintings remain on permanent display. Back in 2013 I was a founder member of The Arborealists: a group of like minded artists whose primary subject matter is the tree. I still exhibit with the group from time to time, as much as my exhibition schedule permits, and they have, to date, produced 3 publications which I was pleased to be in.
On a regular basis I exhibit with Natasha Kumar of artshouse.co.uk. Natasha takes my new drawings to London Art Fairs (Hampstead and Battersea Affordable Art Fairs), and more recently Fresh Art Fair at Cheltenham. I also regularly exhibit with Kelly Ross at The Art Stable where I’ve had several solo shows since 2010. Outside of exhibitions, Kelly also tends to hold a small collection of my work at her gallery in Child Okeford, Dorset. If you are interested in my work please do contact me on my Contacts Page.
Statement from Under the Greenwood: Picturing the British Tree
My focus on drawing trees began incidentally to a project I had been working on describing paths and tracks. These structures seemed stylistically and compositionally useful throwing up interesting ideas including notions of narrative via journeys. It then became apparent that these journeys were leading me imaginatively back to an early preoccupation I had with the lives and stories of Northern European woodlands.
Woodlands are crammed full of visual ideas. They are dynamic spaces broken by chaotic forms and shifting light; a curious sense of stillness and movement, space and enclosure. There is too much information here for the brain/eye to process, it demands attention and time and to be captured somehow, and I am reminded of the 'Desert Seen' series by Lee Friedlander. His images of Cacti and tree stumps are a faithful and forensic record, and become something quite entirely 'other'.
The 'point' of a pencil is subliminally incisive, more so than painting, and more akin to photography perhaps; an unravelling and remaking of each tiny piece of the image, bringing a closer affinity to the woodland subject matter. The process of drawing sparks a greater capacity for sensitivity and involvement, a deepness of tone or lightness of touch in pristine monochrome, unconfused by a cloak of colour. Like a photograph, the image is a fragment preserved and springs from an urge to preserve, but something else too - a thing in itself, a soulful experiment in mark-making, tone and form.
My eye is the lens with which I choose to shift and tilt perspective, my intention being to re-frame and re-see the forest, to challenge how we see things and our relationship with our environment. As Paul Caponigro says: 'Photography is a medium, a language, through which I might come to experience directly, live more closely with, the interaction between myself and nature'.
September 2013. Sansom & Co 208 pages.