Image: Village, inkjet printed 160gsm paper. Each house 5x5x5cm
Using the same paper house design I first created in 2005, I have made the houses for this village. As I have done before, the work is made to be photographed. The finished work presented to the viewer is the photograph. This work is inspired by Francis Weller’sFive Gates of Grief.
The Fourth Gate: What we expected and did not receive
We arrive here as stone age children. We are wired and prepared to participate in everything our deep time ancestors experienced. R. D. Laing.
I have experienced the company of friends I don’t completely trust, people who I might choose to hide some vulnerability from, people who might exploit some weakness for “just a joke”. A “joke” that invites distance, invites the withholding of trust, encourages superficial connection.
Aware of this, for several years I have been wondering about the depth of connection people are able to have when there is deep trust. I have experience radical trust and extraordinary (in my personal experience) connection. I long to live with this every day and I believe it is possible.
It seems to be that our nature invites us to live in communities of around 40 adults plus children. 40 people with close and healthy interdependence, trusting each other with their lives. A village. People who I would hold, people who would hold me in times of grief. People who would share joy and celebration. How would it feel to live with that level of trust & connection? What is it like to live without it? It is one of the experiences we came into the world expecting and did not receive.
Where is my village? How can it be made? How will we make ourselves into villagers?
Using the same “Cut, Fold & Stick” technique as my paper houses, I have made the megaliths for Temple. As I have done before, the work is made to be photographed. The finished work presented to the viewer is the photograph. This work is inspired by Francis Weller’sFive Gates of Grief.
The Third Gate: The Sorrows of the World
There are no unsacred places. There are sacred places and desecrated places. Wendell Berry.
When I began reading about the third gate in The Wild Edge of Sorrow, I was prepared to find my grief about how our civilisation has treated the world. What I wasn’t expecting was grief about my own separateness from the more than human world. Our civilisation teaches us to see ourselves as separate. Once this error is seen, the separation does not, in my own experience, simply disappear. Some work is needed to reestablish connection. What is the nature of that work? How will I reclaim my proper place as belonging to this world?
Progress seems to be by small steps. Grief for the way things are is part of the process. Then remembering John O’Donohue’s words “When we walk on the earth with reverence, beauty will decide to trust us.”. Without beauty, I don’t think I could do this. I would collapse into despair.
I came across some photos of art work which dates back 11 years or more, from my days as an art student in Wrexham.
Ceramic Vessel was made from hundreds of pieces of broken table ware, glued against a jig I made, using hot melt glue. About 25cm tall.
Reflected Colour relief, extruded foam, acrylic paint. All the colour you can see is reflected from the back of the blocks, only white is facing the camera. About 150cm wide.
People struggled to believe this worked, some asked how I turned it off at night. Here’s a diagram of the pieces:
The grey area is the back which is glued to the wall.
A composition of paper houses. Each house is 5x5x5cm. The houses are printed on 160gsm paper with the roof area printed in colour. Light filters through the paper, projecting colour inside the house. These were cut out using a scalpel and assembled with double sided tape. I used these paper houses in many different compositions and made several hundred over a couple of years.
This composition was inspired by Georges Braque’s early Cubist work and late Paul Cézanne paintings. Cézanne’s late work seem to me to have inspired Braque & Picasso’s early Cubist works. I was unable to find any reference to support this idea.
This morning I revisited a project from 10 years ago, my paper houses. I had the idea of making a house by printing it with a pattern and colouring it in. I used a pattern I found on the web. I’d like to know who really owns the copyright — I’ve seen several different sites asking to get paid to use the image commercially. I’d be happy to pay a reasonable fee to the real owner. The house is cut from light (160gsm) card and measures 5x5x5cm.
I coloured the pattern using Kuretake Zig Clean Colour Real Brush Pens from Cult Pens. These pens are lovely to use and have strong bright colours. I used to cut the houses out using a craft knife. These days I use my Graphtec Silhouette Portrait which saves a lot of time. The houses are stuck together using double sided tape.
(Graphtec have one of the worst web sites I’ve seen in recent years. I don’t think the Silhouette is made any longer).