I am now the second Little Van Gogh artist to have been awarded this New Forest residency. Really looking forward to the opportunity!
‘As an artist, I see visual ‘reality’ – the external world – as only a part of our understanding and perception. We see in relation to ourselves, our past, and the events that shape us as individuals. If my paintings have an uncertain quality it is because I feel that the world within us and around us is in a constant state of flux and transformation. During my residency in the New Forest I hope to produce work that reflects aspects of the location and environment but I don’t envisage that it will be a direct visual replica of what I see’.
I stumbled across this ready-made Christo in the grounds of Anglesey Abbey, near Cambridge. I think they would be delighted.
‘When Christo began to wrap objects in 1958, he used everyday objects such as shoes, telephones and empty paint cans to make his sculptures. Once wrapped, the objects would take on a new identity. By wrapping them, he would reveal some of the most basic features and proportions of the object by concealing the actual item. Christo and Jeanne-Claude later expanded this idea in projects such as The Pont Neuf Wrapped and the Wrapped Reichstag, but on a much larger scale. While the intricate details of the structures are hidden, the essence of the structures are revealed all the while making the imposing and solid structure seem airy and nomadic’.
‘The use of real fabric also gives the work a fragile, sensual and temporary character while wrapping objects is definitely an important part of their œuvre, Christo and Jeanne-Claude have done very few wrappings in comparison to their whole portfolio of artworks. It is easier for some to grasp the wrapping concept and refer to their artworks entirely as “wrapping,” but the work is more about altering an environment than wrapping – which is only one way to do that. The last time the artists had an idea for a wrapping was in 1975, when they had the idea of wrapping the Pont-Neuf in Paris, ten years before they realized the work of art.’
This is a large mixed media painting on a 122cm x 92cm professional quality canvas. It is partly expressionistic, partly impressionistic in terms of technique and style. The media, including bitumen, thick acrylic paint and an assortment of organic debris collected from the forest floor are applied with a variety of tools including brushes and palette knives. The surface is built up in quite heavy impasto and alternately glazed over a period of time. In places, the surface has been scorched with a heat gun to create unexpected interactions of materials and paint.
I have been influenced by the contemporary artists Anselm Kiefer and Gerhardt Richter. If you have a moment, take a closer look at the detailed photographs to gain a more tangible sense of the textural qualities in this work.
Thetford Forest is the UK’s largest man made lowland forest with 18,730 hectares to explore. It was originally planted to aid the UK war effort. In common with many areas of East Anglia – including the reclaimed Fenlands – it is essentially a fictional world, artificial, planned and designed to resemble a forest. That it also happens to be an area of outstanding ‘natural’ beauty is a poetic irony. When I visited the Forest a couple of weeks ago for inspiration, I was informed by ‘Forest Rangers’ that the area I had just entered was private….I wasn’t happy but made my apologies and left. What part of rural England in the 21st Century England can we call ours?
Coveney is a village north of Cambridge in Cambridgeshire in the UK. It is part of the Cambridgeshire Fenlands, an extensive flat terrain of fertile agricultural land once flooded but systematically reclaimed with the help of Dutch drainage engineers. I frequently cycle along these narrow and uneven roads, avoiding the pools of water and stretches of mud churned up by fleets of farm vehicles that criss cross the fens at this time of year. When I see something of interest, I stop and capture the scene with my camera.
If you look closely you can just make out someone with an orange sledge and blue coat.
This morning the snow fell in Ely all morning, quite unusual in this part of the country. The snowflakes have started to dissolve the façade of the building, the close up shots reminds me of Monet’s Rouen Catherdral.