4th August - 11th September 2022

GATES
London

I visited the Roman Villa at Fishbourne in Sussex just before the first lockdown.
Apart from the obvious excitement at seeing the scale of the excavated Villa, I was struck by the information as to how the Roman Army was equipped, disciplined and able to make such an impact on the societies invaded and subjugated.
The discipline of the scale of the Roman Roads paved the way and led to the enclosures that encircled the captured towns. This led to the building of City Gates, their position either dictated by the natural geological and social context of the town, or by compass orientation. The dimensions of these gates, regardless of their geographical location was standard. This uniformity made for easy movement in and out of the occupying army and strategic defences. It struck me that this formal arrangement of scale then became overlaid by context, current events and time. This was enough for me to initiate a series of investigations about the original seven gates of the Roman City of London. These armatures had the same dimensional discipline, but could then be overlaid by my investigations and imaginations as to the context and the names by which these Gates were known – Aldersgate, Aldgate, Bishopsgate, Cripplegate, Ludgate, Moorgate and Newgate.

WALLS
Cornwall

When I lived in Padstow, in sight of the Camel Estuary, I was constantly intrigued by the view towards Wadebridge and the outlines of Cant Hill and Gentle Jane –another hill – where they met the ebbing and flowing waters of the River Camel. I thought that Cant was an alliteration of Coney, but was disappointed to discover that in fact it meant edge/wall. This revelation did not impede the making of these four drawings based on the changing seasons and their impact on that particular landscape. But now, not living in Padstow, I 'looked' at the landscape from a different vantage point – Wadebridge. This gave me a mirrored image of my previous experience of this landscape. Early documented evidence of the clearing of Cornish fields, some believe to be the earliest in the British Isles, and their enclosure to make manageable and economic farming tracts; the relationship between port and starboard (left and right); and the overwhelming interaction of the fluidity of water and sky, together with the apparent diminution and expansion of landscape, seascape and sky as the year turns, all became salient factors in the resolution of these drawings. The early realisation from seeing a Foucault's Pendulum that confirmed the tilt of the Earth and its rotation gave additional impact to the final drawings.


CARNIVALS
Everywhere

After the last Open Studios (2019) I was approached by the Scoutmaster in charge of the Scouts who were parking the visitors' cars. He offered me some canvas tents if I wanted them. This offer was the result of him seeing some of my work and a subsequent conversation around the subject of canvas and tents. I have often incorporated existing physical elements into my work. I was delightfully shocked to discover that what was on offer was in fact seven very large, scrub green canvas tents! Fantastic I thought, having no idea as to what I might do with this windfall. My first task was to 'deconstruct' them back to flat pieces of canvas in order to measure and understand their form as I mused on the possibility of their scale, colour, patina and smell in the realisation of a series of future works. Then serendipity struck and I was offered an exhibition in the South of France. That catalyst was enough for me!

A Show that needed to Travel
A Travelling Show
A Carnival travelling to France

Naturally, any words needed would have to be in French to describe any activities happening 'within' the works. It all seemed perfectly logical and necessary to me! Then Covid-19 locked us down for the first time and I was forced for all the best reasons to work away from my studio. This had a huge impact on the scale of work I could produce.
By now, I had a series of tentative titles based around the attractions one might legitimately expect to encounter at a Carnival. These titles would be the starting point for the large pieces I would produce from the deconstructed tents, but now only having a small space to work in I produced small constructions based on the titles I had been thinking about. Then it struck me. Carnival – Circus – Flea Circus! I was bitten! Totally logical to my way of thinking and working. After lockdown restrictions were lifted, I was able to continue to work on the two diametrically opposed scales for my Carnival. In September, two years on, it travels to the South of France! Car-ni-val – Farewell to Flesh!