I think of myself now as an outsider artist as much as a human scientist. Right now I am based at Rogue artists studios in Manchester but I practice ecological art in situe, usually on a sea shore somewhere in North Wales, Highlands or Orkney. One of my aims is to explore our possible relationships with the natural environment. Rather than representing landscapes conventionally in paintings, I collaborate with the world in producing (art) objects which in making combine agencies of the artist and the place. (So in effect I experiment with animism in a contemporary context). In the practice I am developing the world becomes a partner with powers of its own, rather than a mere physical object to be used and represented. I let the wind, the rain and the sea collaborate in painting, using (as much as possible) materials and tools found in situ.
I am currently working on three specific projects.
1. I place a canvas on the shore and both 'frottage' it and develop the traces that the elements leave on it into -well - “paintings”, using both local and conventional materials. The results are large, colourful shore installations, occasionally transported to studios like oversize picture postcards. The works draw out implicit counter-aesthetic elements of places, express my sensitivities, which tend to reflect implicit histories of these places. The locations worked in are Hell’s Mouth in the Llyn peninsula, Grobust beach on Westray, Orkney and Ciabost, Lewis, Outer Hebrides.
2. The second project treats the seaweed fragments found on beaches as stories told by the sea (counterfactually, I hastens to add). The seaweed is photographed, analysed into characters (usually they resemble Linear-B script), drawn on clay found in the situ and then fired into clay tablets. The characters are also used in the composition of paintings of the places the seaweed was originally found, trying to inscribe in them their histories.
3. The third project involves painting waves and seascapes, but with a difference. As far as possible, local materials/pigments are used, providing a material connections to the place. Jetsam is used in addition to artistic tools. Wind, spray and rain partly determine the deposition of pigments on the canvas - they paint.