Friday, 7 November 2014

Syndics of the Drapers' Guild (1662)

Rembrandt paints the moment the deal is struck. The drapers syndics cast their critical idea over the Rembrandt's materials. 

We're not sure about any of these ideas Mr van Rijn. Do you have anything else? 

You don't like that? Well, then, just as you are, right now. That's fine. Like that. Like you are.

And the best thing is that he persuades them. So the Syndics cast their critical eye on us. Measure us up - it's a negotiation - no-one must be sold short. 

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

an atrium in the desert

Paul Klee making visible (making im-material)
On at the Tate Modern, London until 9th March 2014

Hotel rooms. lego blocks 
by a lake. atrium in the desert
at the top of the green fields
the Kasbah folding up into the size of a postage stamp

through a letter box. 
trailing umbilical cord
hushed flaps sail. I can see it all. 

2. traces

at the museum Neue Kunst Hans Goltz
a clockwork mechanism counts down
the silent fishing rod hook beneath the lake
pendulum still, rotations still
tides round the hot lazy sun. 

tattoos peeling off the sheets
scrolls pressed and dried
toner unfixed
I press through the sheets 
and oil on my palms. 

substance - glass - scales 
shield and reflect 
but the gills let the right ones in

In the aerodrome hotel a telescope landing strip

the city flattens out. 

5.  etre 
ruined architraves
ancient futures in fish eye memories
the memory of bulbs, from inside out
slicing through the onion epidermis

sandstone's memory, an ocean mountain

this is a concentration game
like a computer game
pinball. architect. dot matrix
woven tear garden

The cloth makers cottages along Claygate. Three children run to sunday school or out onto the wash. The light curves drawn out onto the open fields. The land here is beneath sea level and so water flows downhill towards the centre. The birds know this and nest. The alphabet's visible root structures. It's the catastrophe of a dream. It's a dot on the map. 

Sunday, 13 November 2011

The Wilderness of Stories

An Illustration by Jim Kay, from the novel A Monster Calls. Written by Patrick Ness from the ideas of Siobhan Dowd.

The novel tells the story of Conor, a school boy and his mother who is suffering from terminal cancer. The novel is accompanied by utterly beautiful illustrations. I felt they concentrated the pain and emotions of the story in a completely graphic way.

There are further illustrations, by Jim Kay from the book here

Saturday, 29 January 2011

note to self

I got a letter from myself this morning. I wrote it in 2006 in the G39 Gallery in Cardiff as part of a work by artist Jennie Savage. I vaguely remember I had gone into the gallery to meet someone and come across the exhibition by chance. I scribbled the letter out as I was waiting for them. I didn't know how long I would be waiting. The letter ended abruptly when the person arrived.

I wrote whatever came to mind in those few minutes. It's a strip of consciousness cut out of five years ago and delivered to me on a cold Saturday, after breakfast. There are two other strangers in the room with me. They seem to be nervous. One is playing with their mobile phone. They look at the exhibit but don't write a letter. I'm aware of them, and a list of other jobs that flit through my memory. Always lists of jobs to do. Flowers. Jobs still at the back of my memory-list five years later.

I photograph the letter this morning: the stamped impression, the fragments of the text. Photographing it makes me start to read down the text in columns rather than in a linear way. It goes like this:

he's talking
present this

when I go and put some
yesterday. Why
the text

I spoke
some flowers

In the five years since I created the letter I have thought about that afternoon several times and waited for the letter to return. It surprised me this morning. I thought it would be longer coming. 2015, or something like that. I think I liked it more as an im-material memory than a material object sitting on the table in front of me.

Maybe it's time to throw it away.

This is no reflection on piece itself, Savage's work has created a longevity of reflection for this participant, I have returned to the idea time and again to since its creation.

A couple of years ago when I found fifteen-year-old undeveloped rolls of film hidden amongst a drawer of detritus, I realised that here was another time machine waiting to suprise me. I blogged the photos here. Since then I have been occasionally stashing rolls of film about the house to be found and developed at some undecided point in the future.

Note to self: must take some more films and add them to the pile.

For Jenny's reflections on the project look here.

Friday, 21 January 2011


The character of a city can always be seen in the style of street signs. London signs them in monotonous block capitals embossed on iron. Madrid on tiles with beautiful images recalling the name. Bogota street signs have the drama and romance of magical realism. Letters dance across the stone. Sloping tails of letters sweep into their neighbours. Letters merge with each other to create ideograms. I wanted to stop on every street corner.


my first digital camera, shortly to be made redundant.