complexions of the atmosphere
complexions of the atmosphere are a series of painted sculptural reliefs made from recycled polystyrene which show everyday stuff and modern calamity juxtaposed as Oxymora of a pseudo classical aesthetic, the grim and the barren beautified.
Seemingly arbitrary views, in an unheroic contrast to ancient reliefs of the Parthenon are woven together by a mesh of subconscious thought; an empty underground office the antithesis of business acumen, a street barbecue who’s ominous sentiment suggests that life is definitely no-picnic, a dank drainage ditch on the cusp of a wealthy suburb once a fine river known by ancient poets for the washing of the feet, now concreted over, a lonely fire-fighter hurls a small bucket of water at the fire gorging the forest to become prime real-estate, people, both young and old, in a scene reminiscent of the middle-ages huddle around after-market garbage bins in the hope of finding the day’s meal.
Phrases abounding with assurance from new language developments in the world of banking and finance jar uncomfortably with the images; a cutting-edge nomenclature which, as it trickles-down, is becoming part of our everyday speech.
In the commonplace and the banal we find our fading view of what we have lost in the moral mayhem of today.
Relief sculpture is an atypical mode of artistic expression today, largely associated with the sculptures of ancient and medieval times. It is neither painting nor sculpture but in containing both becomes something else.
“Human beings today ... are surrounded by huge institutions we can never penetrate: the City (London's Wall Street), the banking system, political and advertising conglomerates, vast entertainment enterprises. They've made themselves user friendly, but they define the tastes to which we conform. They're rather subtle, subservient tyrants, but no less sinister for that.” -J G Ballard
fractal mentality is the collective name I give to sculptures and sculptural reliefs which acknowledge the digitization of humanity.
A crossbreed of computer-graphic solids (a potentially cold and unemotional medium) with something quite the opposite; very humane, arcane, instinctive, it represents the way that machines understand solids. These investigations strive to assert an integrity which is inherent in all things around us, attempting to draw into dialogue the distinction between that which can be produced by mathematics and that which can found in nature and in the soul.
fractal mentality utilises a pseudo-mathematical technique to produce objects which resemble ‘wire-frame’ images, the main-stay of computer three dimensional drawing programs and virtual reality to relate to the steady slide of the way we view ourselves into the realm of the mathematical logic of computers.
As the economic necessity to perform the many basic functions of living with the aid of computers becomes more apparent, so the way that we interpret the world around us is obliged to conform to a common language. The application of systematic thinking is the highway that leads to the future, but the economical necessity of effective information-storage is dictating a series of progressively narrowing portals through which we receive the world.
holes are a series of large-scale painted plaster reliefs depicting excavations in Athens They invite us to look and yet at the same time repel us with images seemingly lacking in beauty or interest. These spaces show views which exist outside contemporary life, hidden behind hoardings and sandwiched between tall buildings. They are generally inaccessible to the public and their alien environment holds no attraction for visitors. Consequently these places become like oases in the city, areas where the complexities of everyday living are stripped away to reveal the raw material of everything, space. Gaps between the buildings and voids in the earth expose the nothingness. I am drawn to these places, which are like glitches in a computer program; momentary lapses in the ceaseless regeneration of the city, where we can see once more bare earth and open space, the exposed raw material from which all the rest of the visible creation around us has sprung.
There is an element of the spiritual space inherent in these scenes; an almost graphic awareness of stillness, the physical austerity of the bare earth and the selective illumination all lend to a feeling of meditative sanctuary. An overall sense of quiet prevails in ‘holes’; somehow stillness is detectable in the colour and light, emptiness. These are exactly the sentiments I experience visiting the real thing and it is these feelings that I want to covey through the work. They are also feelings that I associate with Greece as a physical place, and as an outsider I believe that they are all the more vivid to me, feelings which trigger the mind to transcend grim reality. We live in an age of advancement where the aspirations of the people are reduced by the forces of modern living. Building a house is the hiatus of a lifetime's achievement for our contemporary city dwellers and can be read as a metaphor for our neurotic accumulation of objects.
A combination of visual and spacial theatre found in relief sculpture triggers a unique cognitive response. You can literally get inside a relief, in your mind. At least you can visualize how you would be able to exist, and move around within this 'other' place. Although you cannot, in reality, inhabit the space as you may do in a work of installation for example, this does not diminish the potential for the relief to become associated with the viewer. On the contrary it may well be that the implication is all the more powerful given this actual barrier as this creates in the viewer the necessity to make a creative 'leap of faith’, to undertake 'a willing suspension of disbelief' in order to mentally inhabit the work.