Heritage is one of two overarching themes flowing through my practice. Inspiration is derived, from a rich spectrum of heritage references and sources, and the love of the investigation and research process itself: dogmatic digging through digital resources; poking around catalogues and shelves in museum archives and collections; procuring artefacts in auctions and flea markets; the reinterpretation of local heritage. Narratives that emerge from historical investigations, ultimately dictate how the work evolves, but may be told through photography, printmaking, drawing, textiles, digital print, text, multimedia or installation.
Artworks assimilate heritage and yield narratives, which may be either non-fictional and fictional. Some works originate from a genuine archival object, heritage material, person or era. Others lead to an invented artefact, an object constructed from historical research: a created device whose narrative offers, a historically plausible character who inhabits an imaginary life. This process allows me to investigate as artist, historian, explorer, anthropologist and storyteller. Articles of fictional characters are typically presented, to audiences and participants, as genuine historical artefacts. This presentation comes not from an intension to dupe or deceive, but rather, to provide a moment of romantic escapism, a means to slip into another time and place.
Nature is another dominant theme in my practice: where heritage intersects with nature, is of particular interest. I’m drawn, to interconnections between these two themes, since historically we have a deep-seated relationship to nature’s pervading influence: narratives that embody our reverence before nature, and which personify its intoxicating effect on the soul. These two prevailing themes shape my principle practice, where storytelling evolves through objects, installations and exhibitions.
These notions thread through my engaged practice, residencies and projects. I undertake explorations into historical affairs or events, local history, cultural artefacts, the natural world, or oral-histories of a specific community. Boundaries between different threads, of personal and engaged practice, are persistently merging, the separation between them becoming less distinct. Engagement, and in particular working with people as creative collaborators, extends my artistic practice, enriches the creative expression of those people involved, and resonates with audiences.