I wish, in committing these drawings to the public, that they could convey to others some of the intense pleasure which the beautiful originals have given me; that the animus with which they have been traced could be imparted to a kindred mind.
(W. C. Hewitson. Illustrations of Exotic Butterflies. Vol 1. 1878)
My work currently follows two paths.
One area of study has been in museum and library archives. I draw these wonderful archival objects and their records as visual evidence of our search for truth or understanding of ourselves and the world around us. These embodiments of a scrutinising gaze, the creative manufacture of a visual expression of this understanding and the subsequent continual re-evaluation of these artefacts shows both our human frailty and our willingness to embrace what marvels the world reveals to us. I sometimes combime archival subjects with objects from my own collection: which brings my to my second strand of work.
I also focus on found objects and creatures which, although they may seem of negligible importance or fleeting interest are, to me, touchstones with an infinity of associations, narratives and significance. I am reminded of children’s wonder and precision when they play with their favourite toy.
Some of these objects are toys, which, by their nature, are symbols. Framed by the culture of their origin or appropriation, (religion, folklore, myth etc) they trigger imagination, memories of stories learned and invented, cultural myths and values. Some of these subjects are real flauna and flora, some living and some dead. They are all beautiful and I study them as subjects for my own narratives and hope to generate new connections through the compositions.
These visual triggers (both natural and artificial) are all subjected to the same intense scrutiny. The length of time given to the subjects’ study is implicit in the execution of the artworks. With that knowledge I try to draw the viewer into the work, to contemplate it and reflect upon it and themselves Through the selection and composition of subjects sometimes the right arrangement happens which slyly brings something inert into life. I try to give my artworks a gravitas or focussed intensity where I can give significance to fleeting subjects and ephemeral playthings made permanent by my notice of them.