During the course of Thought for Food, I’ve been thinking about how we map ourselves and how we are mapped into the world. Pondering the connections and links that we make and establish, allowing feeling of steadiness, and stasis. Creating visual images, mapping a composition offers pauses for the eye, and with that comes security.  As Agnes Martin says in the text The Untroubled Mind (a transcript of a 1972 interview) ,

This painting I like because you can get in there and rest.

In this roving, poetic stream of thoughts, Martin identifies nature as a hungry, active and demanding thing, whereas the painting of nature is something else, a gathering and bringing together of elements that bring peace, that we draw on as individuals. Martin infers that it is not only the artist that works from an untroubled mind, but that

People get what they need from a painting.

The viewer can acquire peace by looking at an artwork. Does the creation of a painting, a visual map,  afford more comfort than an experiential understanding of place? A work that brings together moments of fleeting recognition and supposed knowledge  might suggest a place of rest. Even with subtle shifts and turns, despite substitutions, visually mapping might bring us to a different place of understanding because of, or despite, what we know from the physical world, over what we see in a visual representation.

Agnes Martin, “The Untroubled Mind,” in Agnes Martin: Writings/Schriften, ed. Dieter Schwarz (Ostfildern: Cantz, 1991), p. 44.


The second Thought for Food evening took place in Suffolk, where Hayley Lock, Karen Densham, Eileen Haring Woods, Helen Rousseau, Buzz Mitchell and Caroline Wright engaged in a discussion around Mapping. Locating the rural venue on a dark evening perfectly framed the discussion which ranged from geographical navigation, mapping the territory of life, list-making, charts and diagrams. How do we map our practices, particularly when artists today work across platforms employing many different skills. Maps can reveal and formulate, they can be strategies and we work to their boundaries. They make sense of space and the world, and of our place in it.



The second Thought for Food event will finally take place on 9th November 2017 , after a hiatus resulting in a long pause in the project. The subject on this occasion will be mapping. Guests are currently being invited and this time we will meet in Suffolk where my studio is now based. The contact may well bring a different atmosphere and process to the evening, since there will be additional studio detritus and material that could act as stimuli in addition to the pre-chosen objects that relate to the subject and that are presented during the discourse.



In the meantime…

The studio work continues, drawings of objects made into assemblies, bringing together unusual bedfellows. Some of these had a public showing at the Blackwater Polytechnic Open Studios recently in the magnificent home of Ben Coode-Adams and Freddie Robins. Good to see the work in a different context.

 Thought for Food – the first meal

In the Brick Room at Artsadmin, based in Toynbee Hall London, the first Thought for Food evening took place on 15th September. The guest list was partially unknown, since the premise for the evening is that three invited guests bring with them three additional guests. In the event, it was a room full of fascinating people who had gathered to discuss the topic Archiving.

Several objects acted as prompts and illustrations to the discussion, an old metal box filled with record cards, the book Strong Room by Roelof Bakker and Jane Wildgoose and George Loudon’s magnificent book Object Lessons that brings together objects designed in the nineteenth century for the study of natural sciences.

A simple meal of sweet potato and vegetable stew followed by cheese and fruit was eaten as we talked of collecting, what we collect, what we archive and why, archive accessibility and the nature of information. Lucy Bayley, currently researching the archives of the ICA held at Tate, spoke of needing to know what you are looking for – labeling in itself as a point of accessibility brings an imperative for clarity and language that will transcend time. Architect Patrick Ueberbacher revealed he had been a collector as a young child, but that he had concerns about the use of archives at all, and that there was a value in the memory of the thing being more than the archived data about it. He talked of terraced houses being built on accumulated knowledge, a built archive.

Accessing an archive is a moment when it can become real. Making the link between catalogued data and the world it represents requires a human connection for it to exist. With contemporary digital archiving programmes, there can be a perceived loss of need for actual, real things, which brings into question the relationship, state and status between the object in current use, the preserved object in a museum and the archive representing the object for the future.

Thanks due to Artsadmin (specifically Cat Harrison and Jess Denning) for helping with the evening. Artsadmin are currently in the process of planning their own archive. The audio recoding of the evening’s conversation will be offered to them to include in their records.

The guest list: Lucy Bayley, Dr Rebecca Empson, Dr Haidy Geismar, Cat Harrison, Harriet Loffler, Patrick Ueberbacher, Caroline Wright, Liam Wright