I have been busy with mounting, framing and preparing work for exhibition, as well as producing artwork, though not documenting much. I have work selected for the Suffolk Showcase, Smiths Row in Bury St Edmonds and work also on exhibition in The Foyer, University Campus Suffolk, Ipswich in the Atrium Studios Members exhibition. I met some nice people along the way and also at the Airtime Event at TAP, in Southend earlier this week.

So now back to reflecting on the work. Keeping with the everyday, the traces, and the index, recent work has taken another turn. The Snapshots series took a pre-existing object, the found photograph as a foil for allegory and an index from the everyday investigating representation. The new work takes another item from the everyday as a foil for allegory, the doyley is another tradition steeped in history and associations, and perhaps also an endangered object like the printed snapshot photograph which is in decline. The first of the new series of work is Tracing the Everyday 1, pictured here, a screen print A3 size.

The process of cutting and removal of material is the same as before but the resulting altered form is dispensable. As it is merely the masking to produce the screen print it has fallen into obscurity. It has not been retained or retrieved from its own obscurity, but exists as a copy in the short run of prints. ‘A copy now without an original’ which brings my thoughts back to research on Deleuze and Baudrillard, so it has taken the steps of cut and removal a step further. I printed it with a single colour emphasising the process and the index back to the absent object, which I feel contradicts or denies the image to some extent, or perhaps makes it problematical in as far as we might read into it and yet it obstinately refuses to reveal the connection in any really secure way. I have had some positive feedback already and it seems to function in the intended way as it hovers between ornament and image, mass cultural reference and fine art object.

I am still working on the rest of the series, but have been coming across critical writing that positions the process of making in the Tracing the Everyday screen print series in a place I had not expected. Well not entirely. Ward’s book on postmodernism that I had been reading also explores Warhol’s work because of the low and high culture of mixed processes of painting and print and because of the content in the representation and its abstraction, and the distinction of original and copy. This he situated in relation to Greenberg’s modernism as a departure, or as he puts it a confusion. Hal Foster’s Return to the Real discusses similar issues in Warhol’s work as I have just started reading, and this is all very interesting and revealing. Back to Ward and the connection back to Dada; he states an ‘attempt to reconcile art and everyday life’ exists in Warhol’s work and in postmodernism. I can see that, but I am not convinced that the line of enquiry should be left there, as I think that there are wider considerations and issues here. The origins of the images and the processes involved collect with them contexts within which to read them, and yet also outside of that they create an engagement in the work that is about something else.

I am not quite sure what that means, exactly, but it lies in the area of interpretation and issues of authorship and intertextuality. If my work operates in similar ways, then that makes sense as those are issues I have brought into the work. I like the precarious allusion to distinctions of high and low culture, and clearly I set out to play on that mass/sub culture skull and pattern and pink aesthetic, but I used the method to try to restrain any indulgence in the genre, the process states itself very directly. The work is not to reconcile the art to the everyday, but to bring the trace out from the everyday; and through the use of process and material to interfere with expectations and to push the representation back on the viewer. It both confirms and denies what it is.

I think I better leave it there for now.


The problem with theory is that the more that is read, the more thoughts, connections and ideas are brought to mind, but then again that is great. And I guess a contradictory statement typical from me to make to start this post.

Some overlap to start with. The Aesthetics book opened discussion about metaphor, which I felt, was not a consistent aspect in my work, but none-the-less interesting. He said in the later section about expression something that occurs in the metaphor section. He distinguishes here between private and public again, in so far as he explains how there is a difference between a persons’ felt emotion and expressed emotion. There are two aspects private and public, and before in the metaphor section it was established that metaphors are public significations, agreed over time by others. And so, this is an aspect in my ‘Snapshots’ work, in that family snaps are private in terms of being personal records (or particular) and yet are public as they follow (universal) conventions agreed over time by others. Then again Ziki discerns two types of memory, episodic and semantic; so we could say that episodic is private or personal in some way, and as for knowledge about the world (the semantic), well that has got to be public as it derives through others. Hmm. . .

So does that lead us anywhere? Well, between reading back over some Rosalind Krauss notes and reading a new book on postmodernism going over Derrida’s différance and deconstruction and so on; and I guess Heidegger’s term ‘language speaks us’, there seems some consistent relation between some of these theories and the work in progress.

Krauss tells us that the ‘index’ and the ‘means of production’ are key to the postmodern work of the seventies and the photograph as index is central; and explains that there is a link back the readymade of Duchamp. This makes sense as I am using photographs particularly because of their index and because they pre-exist my interventions. The work has some grounding in some of these poststructuralist ideas regarding the means of deriving meaning, and so I think the work has to engage in an exploration the relation between individual and collective, so the public and the private are relevant opposites to explore. And this is a relation that come up in different ways the more I read . . . well along with other stuff.

The point is that the ‘Photocuts’ that I have been creating turn the index into symbol, the particular into universal, and therefore the private or personal into the public (i.e. conventions of language) in some way. The nonsense or humour that creeps in is both my playfulness and a means to engage others into the deciphering process. If Krauss fixes the index in the postmodern then my work in progress is not maintaining that approach as I continually move away form or transpose that index. So I am working in relation to these ideas rather than dependant on them.

The latest piece is again hinting at narrative in Barthes terms as in the last blog post, but here in Photoshoot 3 the remains of the photograph pictures signs that could build a context differently to the last piece, in that the arm is a potential ‘actor’ but the gun and shawl add more connotations than a potential part to play later on, and yet still the image hovers unfixed as intended. Perhaps there is something of the ’empty signifier’ in my work, that Krauss also discusses in her essay as she describes Jakobson’s ‘shifter’ in terms like ‘this’. Well, in as far as it does a similar thing, by pointing to a possible reference, context or narrative without fulfilling the whole story. I think I will research this more as this is also interesting. That’s it.


Well my website is finished and uploaded on to the internet, finally. whoop, I think is the expression.

So moving on from Barthes ‘cardinal’ functions in narrative, the uncertainty aspect is clearly central to the work I am developing, and after reading through passages in a book on aesthetics I notice other moments of uncertainty operate in language.

In discussing metaphor in Aesthetics, Dickie argues around the assertions of Beardsley and his ‘object-comparison’ view, which he refutes, and discusses this in relation to Aristotle and the ‘widely held view . . . metaphor is a disguised simile which makes an implied comparison’. He also discusses an example as an ‘open simile’ in which we are left to work out the context. This later point seems to make more sense on the face of it, than Beardsley’s argument but as Dickie says later, metaphors do not ‘refer’ as such, and therefore if we are to talk clearly about metaphor we should avoid talking about signification on those terms.

What he seems to be alluding to is shifting context as the key and also that the meanings are derived from different origins, which are not definitions. So simile and the object need to stay out of the argument.

From here, in terms of metaphor and also in terms of narrative and cardinal functions, a sense of movement, displacement, uncertainty or deferring operates which creates an expectation or addition to what is expressed. The meanings are not literally evident, but there may be possible available associations. There is something significant concerning this moment of uncertainty.

The most recent piece I made Photoshoot 2, pictured here, suggests the full picture yet hovers in anticipation. Hmm, interestingly moving to a new approach . . .’

The Snapshots photocuts held quite firmly to the genre of family photographs and Un-Fictions cut books interestingly played with what my reading of Ziki describes as a difference between semantic memory and episodic memory, the latter being what you know from your own experience; but the Photoshoot series is different as I have no associations with the images but they do not have cultural associations in the same way. Narrative expectation overrides metaphor in the new work, and I may not be ‘refering’ either, but representation here is taking the viewer somewhere else.

There is something in all this that makes (or may make) sense somehow, and the journey finding out is interesting.


The movement from Snapshots to the new batch of found photographs, the Photoshoots, marked a change in my approach to the photographic image. Here the red-screen ‘arena’ was identified, which set the focus on that area which defined the posed subjects, instead of framing the composition with the outer edges of the photograph; which defined the ‘cropping’ nature of the Snapshot pieces.

This idea of ‘arenas’ where the posing takes place occurred in earlier Snapshots, is generating further ideas, but one image in that set of photocuts has a very different character. The last Photoshoot piece did not so much outline as isolate. This occurred in my earlier photocuts when the focus was more singularly on suspension of closure. Yet in this Photoshoot piece there seems a sense of narrative, although not clearly defining a particular narrative. The isolation of the parts of the subject has moved away from signification and connotations to function differently.

I have been reading an essay called An Introduction to the Structural Analysis of Narrative by Roland Barthes which explores conditions that dispose language to narrative. Barthes distinguishes three levels in narrative work: ‘functions’, ‘actions’ and ‘narration’. He talks about functions as elements that ‘will later come to maturity’ which are distributional. These elements create ‘operations’ as ‘cardinal’ functions ‘that either initiates or resolves an uncertainty’.

I am not sure that we can attribute these principles to my work as a particular narrative is not being sort in the work, but there is an implicit expectation at work. The ‘uncertainty’ is evident and this anticipation has parallels with Barthes discussion of narrative structure in some way. Even as a catalyst for ideas the theory informs the work and this Photoshoot piece is a starting point for further adventures into picture making.


So thanks to Jean I have read Family Snapshot by Spence and Holland, and see the relevant points that relate. Patrician Holland identifies that snapshot collections only include ‘approriate’ or ‘significant’ photographs, and so ‘family albums are about forgetting as well as remembering’ and that reflects my ideas for photocuts. The further comments Holland makes are of interest for some of my other developments, as she notes that ‘political change is embedded, rarely visible on the surface’ and also quotes from Wright (1983), ‘but the evocation is of “precious and imperilled traces” against a speeding-up of time and the all consuming power of technology’. The last point really echoing ideas about the remoteness and distancing of our technological age that my snapshots installtion was exploring, and brings Virilio back into view. An interesting read, and Annette Kuhn in the book says ‘ . . . the past is made in the present.’ alluding to the collectors’ construction of events through selection which can relate to Holland’s ‘really visible’ events outside of the family concerns and maybe ideas yet to be developed?? Where the two aspects come together?? . . . Hmm? There are some converging references here and some rethinking perhaps, in that other re-presentations could arrise. Hmm.