It’s been a while since I last posted anything here. Life, with all its complications, has got in the way. Some life issues remain deeply personal – too difficult, too painful, perhaps, to share – or simply, I make a decision not to. This of course, means that a less real, authentic version of life is put forward but on the basis of nobody needing to know everything, I think that’s fine.
It feels timely that just a week ago I was having conversations with other artists about the dilemma of how much versus how little to share on our respective blogs. It was one of the many interesting questions raised around the discussion table, organised by Platform -7 Events last Tuesday evening: How real/authentic is your blog? is one that stood out for me in particular, largely I think, because I spend a lot of time thinking about that question.
Looking back on past blog posts, I’ve sometimes surprised myself by how much I’ve actually revealed about my personal life, but it’s usually in the context of how life has affected my ability to make art. Because I use my blog as a space to record my working practice, when there’s a gap, I feel the need to account for it.
My life has been in a state of turmoil for the past few months. Partly due to moving house and the chaos that involves, and partly due to a tragic life event for someone close to me. My mind has been on other things and I’ve found it hard to get into the studio. I often seem to equate not being in the studio with not working. I suppose it dates back to when I worked in various offices when not showing up would be noticed. I sometimes miss it – routine is important to me and I feel disorganised without it.
I often return to this blog when I’m feeling disorganised. Writing it helps me unpick and organise my thoughts – frees me up and helps me move forward. I’ll feel better I know, once I’ve written it and also, once I’m up to date with documenting and photographing recent work. Not getting into the studio and keeping on top of things frustrates me; I’ve been trying since mid-August, but haven’t managed it yet. Apart from when I was ill three years ago, it’s been the longest I’ve been out of the studio in a long time. Being back there again will mean that, as well as the actual physical space getting tidied, documenting the things I have managed to do will become more clear.
Photo credit: Barbara Dougan
In spite of not getting into the actual physical space of the studio, I’ve managed to work remotely and make some new work for a couple of exhibitions that took place over the summer. I was pleased to be invited to take part in the groving project, an annual summer exhibition, curated by Barbara Dougan, that explores aspects of Bury St Edmunds through new works of art placed in public.
The theme for this year’s exhibition was monument and one of the several questions put forward by Barbara in her brief about it was around what was missing in existing public memorials/monuments and whether there was space for ‘the small, the personal, the local.’ I believed there was and my response was to try and give recognition to local ‘ordinary’ people – those carrying on quietly behind the scenes, galvanised in their efforts to alleviate the suffering of those less fortunate than themselves, specifically in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. The statues and monuments, the blue plaques and memorials all have their place in celebrating the work of the well known, but what about the unsung heroes – the brilliant NHS staff and other essential workers who went way and beyond what was required of them. Bury St Edmunds undoubtedly has its own unsung heroes.
I was also delighted to be invited to exhibit work in ‘Silent Disco’ a group exhibition curated by Graham Crowley. Photographing the work I made for it is one of the many things I need to do once I make it back into the studio. I’ll write more about it then. In the meantime, I can’t think of a better way to introduce my own and the work of other artists in the show than including this video, in which Graham gives a curator’s tour, in conversation with Rob Dunt (who runs the ArtTop10 art review website). Here’s the link to it:
A link also to Unsung Hero as part of the groving project:
As well as one to the Platform-7 Events, run by John McKiernan: