Work > Applied Works > Reliefs






For the last two years I have been working on a series about an estuary where I live here in North Norfolk. The fact is that it is no longer an estuary; sea walls. and land reclamation now keep the sea out, so where once the tide slipped in twice a day, there are fields and copses. The evidence of its former medieval heyday however is there to see. The ruins of a friary built in the 13th century still stand on the banks of what once must have been a thriving harbour. It would have been the centre of much trade in an area that was then as busy as anywhere in the country.



This has become the focus of the work and I have been making photographs, drawings and reliefs that allow me to explore the possibilities of what this place might have been.



Pastel Reliefs

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The Real and the Imagined.

The reliefs are made of individual pastel-coloured wood panels and have a strong relationship with the landscape photographic work. 

The camera I use is big, with a 10x8 inch negative and a medium wide-angle lens. It drinks in information, more than the eye can see and the final large format prints reveal an intense level of detail. They are printed as realistically as possible so as to show the place as if the viewer were there themselves. The pictures are like stage sets almost where, in their sense of ‘visual totality’ and ‘witness’… there is a feeling that something is about to happen…. a sense of something ahead rather than behind.

The reliefs are the opposite, they are imagingings of time and place. 



















Hedgerows

Dandelions

Ragwort

August















These dreamlike imaginings begin to take begin to take on a physical form. I start with little coloured cards covered in dry chalky pastel. I have a palette of about twenty-five colours and work to find four or five of work well together for what I have in mind. I continue to arrange them gauging the possibilities of how one colour might work against, behind, beside and in front of another. I then make larger panels … three or four of each colour. It is important that these have their own individuality; each is shaped, sawed, primed, coloured, polished and loved well before they are then placed together. The layout at this point is not established and all I know is that the colours and shapes will work together for what I have in mind.









When I make the applied work as opposed to the photography, I am interested in how a single gestural line of ink can convey something that the big camera cannot. It has become clear to me that the success of that line is more about the nature of its gesture than its ability to visually represent the landscape itself. It is with this in mind that I can explain the way that each panel is applied to the final piece; many choices have been made but the composition is very much the result of moving completed independent elements within a given frame. This I would say is akin to the notion of gesture in the drawing.

It is in this way that I find the work sits between abstraction and representation. When I look at them I feel I am seeing an event as landscape in the classic sense. The motifs are all there with fields, trees and water and the composition echoes that of classical painting. However, it is important to see that the relationship between each individual panel is just the beginning of an idea. The starting point was a thought, and because it has barely developed beyond just that, its manifestation is best imagined through the space that it may have occupied… its landscape. Its place.



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