Doorways – Fringe Arts Bath, 25 May – 10 June 2018

I am exhibiting new Sculpturescape work at the Fringe Arts Bath.   The curators  Mike and Dona Bradley,  describe doorways as thresholds to somewhere new.  Doorways are the physical symbol of the transition – of change – between the ‘now’ and the ‘next’, from ‘here’ to ‘there’; moving in, moving out, moving on.  Familiar in ritual, religion, myth and literature, doorways have emotional power.  Doorways occupy the liminal space between two states of being, a transition that has to be negotiated before the ‘next’ can begin.

2018 Madonna – Rite of Passage 40cm x 30cm C-Type Print

Rite of Passage is one of the Sculpturescapes I am showing at the exhibition.  It shows  a figure from the vantage point of a doorway, a crack in the door or a door that is ajar.  The figure is a lady in a pose of prayer, consolation, meditation.  Here she is alone and we are looking through into her private space.  It forces us to ask ourselves whether or not we should be looking?  We are not being invited to enter in through the doorway, but to stay outside and hidden.  If we look beyond her we see that she entered from another space, through a dimly lit archway.  That entrance beyond is mysterious and holds a slight feeling of eeriness.  Where does this doorway take her?  Where has she come from?  Does she turn left to leave this sacred space, or right?  Does she belong in our time?  Who is she and in what sort of world does she belong?  In what sort of world do we belong?  Is this a doorway to an earlier time when prayer and contemplation were commonplace?

Human Exhibition at the German Residence 2017-18

October 9th 2017 – 30th January 2018

German Residence, Belgrave Square, London

Click here for Human Catalogue

Click here for review by Leo Crane of London Animation

Talk at the German Residence 19th January 2018

“The lines we leave behind us, the spacious weave, our wake, then sleep.” Robert Macfarlane.

My response to the theme of Human lies in two quite different pieces – the Drawing Machine and the Shroud of a Drove Road.

As a young sculptor and photographer, being asked to create work on this theme, is both a privilege and a challenge. To think about and grasp this concept is in itself, the stuff of epics, poetry, biblical writings, paintings, history and so on.

I ventured that Human would be best expressed and consolidated by creating pieces that showed the incidence, coincidence and transience of the marks that we, as human beings, make during our lifetime. Here TIME is not linear. Recordings, impressions, nature and our creation all conjoin into one moment. I also wanted that the work express the fleeting nature of any impression that we leave behind us. Of the billions of humans that have inhabited this world, only a fraction has ever been recorded. Of so few, do we even have a name, let alone a physical idea of them, a voice, gait or an idea of where they lived, how they lived and with whom they lived. They are just dust under our feet. Our graveyards and burial places record only a few. It is a huge image in my head that the testament to all these lives lived is lost. Our memory span is so short.

 So I decided to record common places and commonly used places and spaces that made up some of the daily experience of people who inhabited them. I have made my own impressions using my bed sheets. They have been much impressed by me and conversely me by them for so many sleep and dream-filled hours. In their next life, I have used them to make Shrouds as an act of collective memory. I have made Shrouds of windows, dry-stone walling, ancient and well-trodden flag stone floors, old barns. The Shroud here is called Drove Road, Dorset. These are ancient paths through which drovers of livestock drove to and from fields, villages, towns and markets. The paths related people to places and connected them. They are like an arterial network throughout Britain. This drove road has been worn down to its bedrock by the passage of people. I gather soil from all over the world and here I have used Icelandic volcanic ash from Landmannalaugar that fell onto the glacier.   I use this soil to make the impressions of this place:

The Drove Road Shroud                                                                        104cm x 126cm

Robert Macfarlane wrote: “paths were imprinted with the ‘dreams’ of each traveller who had walked it and that his own experiences would in course of time [also] lie under men’s feet.” That is what I am trying to convey and it is what I feel.

In this way I try to reach back through these images to those earlier inhabited spaces.

Soil pigments waiting to be ground up


“Touch is a reciprocal action, a gesture of exchange with the world. To make an impression is also to receive one…” Robert Macfarlane

The companion piece is a drawing machine. It is made from found objects. In themselves each component is made from instruments that have been created to measure ourselves within our world: weight, load, compression, suspension, swing, time, frequency, vibration and rhythm. I have combined these to make a machine that draws only when pushed by people. Thus, depending on people’s frame of mind and the force used, the drawing machine makes a mark or leaves a person’s mark on the paper. It records all of our gestures and interactions, which combine to make a complete drawing. The idea is that in a very positive way, it only draws if people push it. Depending on your frame of mind, or the force you use, it has a direct impact on the rhythm of the machine. All of your contributions have made these drawings, and it was just a very simple way of saying what it is like when you are all together and being human.

Drawing Machine
Drawing Machine                                                                                  300cm x 94cm


Drawing machine drawing 2018                                                                                               94cm x 94cm


Preparing for my exhibition Berlin-London Contemporary Art by Women 2015



In November 2014, I received an invitation to show my sculpture and photographs in the exhibition Berlin-London, Contemporary Art by Women at the German Cultural House on Belgrave Square. The exhibition was to be open for two months. This invitation came out of the blue, a result of a chance conversation one evening. At first I was chuffed to bits to be selected and then my thoughts turned to dread – self-doubt ….would I get my act together, to be on time, professional and organised? Imaginary scenes played out in my mind appearing in the form of excuses that something drastic had happened and I could not take part!

As a ‘young’ graduate, I really just wanted to work, to be experimenting and have the courage to keep making. I felt I was unequal to the task of ‘going public’. I was shy of the gaze and criticism of art lovers – resulting in pigeonholing, condemnation or praise, possibly suggesting directions in which my mind had yet to travel.

The force behind this exhibition was Marliese Ammon, wife of the German Ambassador Peter Heimann . For her, there exist few barriers and this exhibition was to create a visible platform for work made across cultural divides where there could be dialogue. She wanted to make one very important point; too few women artists are shown and too few women artists’ work is sold either by galleries or by auction houses the world over. Her statistics are staggering. She wanted to show work by artists who had been collected and recognised despite the Berlin Wall.  Many of the artists, chosen by the Berlin based curator Ecke Cörlin, had work in the Penz collection in Berlin. Without realising it at the time, I was being given the opportunity to connect with a group of artists, whom I would never have met were it not for this exhibition. I suddenly saw the fascinating differences in the considerations, influences and concerns in our work. Both their linguistic and visual language were a discovery to me. the London end of things, I was going to be part of something which would act as a barometer as to where women stood in the 21st Century. “Holding a candle to….” is a saying that immediately springs to mind.

The day arrived when I was to visit 34 Belgrave Square, the site of the old East German embassy…enormous rooms and high ceilings and not designed as a gallery space. Now it had been transformed into the German cultural building for the Embassy of a united Germany. I was offered the choice of two possible places in the building in which I could exhibit. To be invited to choose a whole room for myself! I missed several heart beats…I chose a ground floor low-ceilinged oblong room with a bay window at the end. The first job was to take measurements and lots of photographs. Where would I place an installation and what would it look like? The room had a quiet atmosphere – a small chamber inside which would be my chamber-like sculptures hidden inside a ..not sure what!

While at Heatherley School of Art, I developed a concept of making three dimensional mixed-media sculptures I have called Sculpturescapes. They are looked at through a viewing hole which for the Myth project, enabled me to transform found objects by harnessing and manipulating light and scale to create illusory mythical landscapes. The viewer looks through an aperture and then by being at the centre of the experience can set off on their own journey. At my diploma show, I was allowed to create a false wall….this was not going to work here…cupboards, radiator covers..offsetting the room and where would I hang my photographs?

I had only six weeks to prepare a room full of work. This was not the time to reinvent the wheel and I decided to develop further the mythical landscape of Jason on his quest for his Golden Fleece. I had partially explored the themes of Rite of passage, horizon and journey during the last three years and now I worked on the idea of the sea, both the wave form and the world below the waves. I love line and worked to try to capture those mysterious shapes that glint and give up tiny hints of the secret world below.
I decided to make six new sculptures of which four would be installed inside a white cube…seen through black viewing apertures, one per side. I would show ten photographs of other Sculpturescapes, two would be new. That was the mission. Day and night I concentrated on making and I was only too aware that I had to have enough time to have the courage to scrap work that I was not pleased with and start all over again.

I have made some spectacular mistakes during the set-up! The first was assuming that the lighting would be the same no matter where the sculptures were placed. Working freely in my studio, the neon overhead lights were so powerful I needed very different lighting. Now inside the cube, natural light was cut off and the wall mounted lights had been softened so as not to create too much glare for the photographs. So I painstakingly adjusted the lighting just to recreate what I made in my studio.

I assumed that the average height of the viewing aperture should be set at 5’2”. Along came lots of small adults and small children – short of giving them a leg-up, I quickly went to Ikea to buy 4 sets of little white steps! The reaction of those that followed, was ‘ Are we that short?’

In the lead up to the opening about the unknown rogue elements that might spring up and stare at me in the face. So I created a working Bible with LISTS – short, medium and long term for each area of my exhibition.

Then there was the administration …aah admin. I had no concept of how much time would be spent on it. There were pieces to be written and photos to be found for the catalogue for the exhibition being created in Germany. Then there was more to be written for the Artists Statement…so I really am an artist? There’s nothing like committing the idea to paper to start thinking,  that yes, 2 years out of the starting blocks, I am an artist. Not being social media or website savvy, I realised very soon through the advice of family and friends, that I should at least have a Facebook page. Then there were the mailing lists, the email templates, the photographs, the postcards and business cards for people to take away, labels to be written. It was like an invading tide. However, eventually there were lots of little ticks in my book.

Just before the opening, two events brought great happiness. The curator Ecke Cörlin and his wife Beate Rönspieß appeared in the room. He held out his hands in which sat my first ever catalogue. There it was, beautifully produced. This was happening and it really was me. Then dear Veronica and Tony (my tutors) arrived at the opening evening. I had felt totally supported by them all the way through this. I realised this was the Heatherley effect. Those end-of-year shows were crazy, somewhat scary events. Rob with his deadlines, Steve, Danny, George with our essays, Tony, Veronica and Lucy as well as the brilliant small class of fellow students all keeping a lid on the steam. The ritual painting of the studio floors and walls, the making of a fake wall, looking at space and learning how to maximise it without cluttering it. I now see I would never have been able to do this without having experienced two years at Heatherleys.