‘Fractured’ is the word most in my thoughts lately for lots of reasons. The other day after a particularly intense session on social media networks, I had my first real experience of feeling fractured. It wasn’t a pleasant feeling.

I’ve also started the curating process for our Core Gallery Open. Rosalind Davis kindly invited me to co-curate the show with her. It is a pleasure to contemplate the works selected for the exhibition. An interesting thing has surfaced; many of the artists speak of a ‘fractured’ kind of experience from the barrage of technology and media. It is visible in the work.

Certainly, the recent riot events around the UK have kept the word ‘fractured’ active in my mind.

I’m also feeling fractured in my personal life because we, my husband and I, are making a major move; we’re moving into our own house. It’s a particularly poignant event because our move coincides with the selling of the house where we have been care-takers for the past four years. This house belongs to an elderly lady, soon to be 100 years old. I’m helping to sort through and move this lady’s household as well as our own.

It’s a strange thing to decide in a second what has value and what does not. I find it hard enough to do with my own things, but with another’s belongings it’s frankly eerie; setting aside the sentiments to look at the stern money value.

The memories, the meaning, the expressions, the sentiments are all laid to rest, swept away in an instant of placing an object in a pile of categorization – this pile goes to the tip, this to the family, this pile to anyone who will take it.

It’s interesting the things that go to the family; photographs, pipes, wallets, hats, desks, walking canes, cameras, favourite chairs, binoculars etc. They are often things that recall an individual; tools of favourite activities, well used accessories, paraphernalia of habits, images frozen in time, places where the person sat or worked. These things trigger memories; perhaps even resurrect the touch or smell of someone dear.

The intensity of memory these things stimulate in us come from touching the objects our loved one touched. We’re reminded of how they carried things or themselves, how they walked, how they sat, how they gazed, how they concentrated. We’re reminded of the life we saw unfolding before us. This sounds like Rowland Barthes in Camera Lucida; ‘I was looking at the eyes who had looked into the eyes of the Dali Lama,’ to paraphrase. I think I need to read that book again.

Is it art? Sure, why not. But art will never convey the deep intense feeling of holding once again a thing that once belonged. I wonder if this is the ultimate limitation of art?


Two questions have arisen for me from the reading I’ve been doing.

It seems that the current accepted view that we are entirely constructed by our surroundings is similar to the Judaeo-Christian concept of predetermination, God sets out our path so all things happen as they were meant to happen. But it seems to me, both completely take away any responsibility we may have to think for ourselves and choose. It struck me as odd that there would be this same constraint from two different and possibly mutually hostile systems – faith and science.

However, the argument that we can choose even though we have been constructed seems to me to be suspect because any choice would be a constructed choice and predictable based on the recognition that we have been totally constructed by society. The very fact of our construct means our choices are not our own either.

So what is our own?

The other thing which has crossed my mind is from contemplating this quote by Deleuze:

‘I am forever unfolding between two folds and if to perceive means to unfold, then I am forever perceiving with in the folds.’

The very nature of the fold means that not everything is immediately knowable and shift happens because the folds move. So this would point to a shifting context too. ‘Perceiving with in the fold’ would naturally include a perception of context.

How do we find our center when everything shifts?


It is summer holiday season in France and I have been doing a great deal of mindless, almost Zen, activities like ironing sheets, and making beds. This is the kind of stuff that runs through my head at times like these. I know, I need to take a pill and lie down, don’t I?


I said recently in a newsletter that I no longer felt isolated, thanks to all the great people I’ve connected with and who have become friends and colleagues. I’ll say once again, this connection was made possible by an and the Artists Talking platform. Every connection I’ve made has been as a result of my blog here. There is another person I want thank too and that is my husband, David. I would not be able to do any of the things I do in London without his support and his belief in my talent and ability. I’m also fortunate to have a very supportive family who encourage me at every turn. To all of you individually and collectively, my heartfelt thanks and gratitude.

Marion Michell, an artist who makes the most arresting crocheted garments and shoes from tissue paper; you may remember her from Extra-Ordinary at Core Gallery; she sent me this message recently, ‘It’s great to see how well you’re doing and how things have changed for you since you started your blog and got involved with Core Gallery. There’s hope for us all.’ It was lovely to receive this note and it reminded me again that the issue of isolation is a big one and one many artist face, and perhaps don’t quite know how to change.

If I could answer the question of isolation for artists, it would be simple – start a blog, commit to it and actively talk to other people on their blogs. It is delightful to receive a comment on a blog and even more invigorating when a conversation starts.

My next piece of advice is get involved with an artist collective and become active and involved in it. This one career move could be the most important one an artist can make because the professional practice and activities of an artist-led space/collective are the stepping stones to broader professional activity. It is also a place where you can explore your interests and develop other professional aspects to your career. It is far easier to make professional connections when you can say ‘I’m Jane Boyer and I’m part of the management team for Core Gallery, I’d like to talk to you about…’ As an individual artist, chances are you won’t get your mouth to the chink in the door to say who you are.

You may think this next bit of advice is obvious, but I don’t think it is; make friends with the people you connect with. All of my friends in London started as comment activity through the blogs. We have made the effort to meet in person, see art together, have a meal and a beer and just generally get to know each other better. It has been the most rewarding aspect of my whole trajectory out of isolation. All of my friends have fascinating lives, unique insight into art and make my time in London some of the happiest time I spend anywhere.

Remember that each step may be a small step, but it is a step forward and may bear greater fruit further down the road. Also, take strength from those who believe in you, they see what you can’t see about yourself.

Congratulations to Rob Turner for his Culture Awards nomination! http://wildartintheblean.blogspot.com/

See Marion and Ros Davis, from Core Gallery, in the upcoming exhibition TWISTED

TWISTED – exhibition

A fresh encounter with contemporary craft

The exhibition focuses on work by seven artists who employ the traditional materials and techniques of textiles and ceramics, but manipulate and twist them into different forms, altered meanings and new directions. Wriggling out of the traditional domain of ‘craft’, these objects escape the plinth, shelf and glass cabinet, occupying the gallery as unconventional wall pieces and installations that you can walk through.

With Kay Aplin, Rosalind Davies, Rosie James, Marion Michell,

Karin Schosser, Isobel Smith, Alice Walton

July 23 – August 21, 2011

Wed – Sun 11am – 5pm

PREVIEW: Friday 22 July, 5 – 7 pm

For details see under:



North Gallery


10-14 Waterloo Place

Brighton BN2 9NB

East Sussex

Telephone: +44 (0)1273 603700

Email: [email protected]


In case you haven’t been following the conversation happening on Andrew Bryant’s article The C-Word, I suggest having a look: www.a-n.co.uk/p/1346855/ it’s a good debate on an important subject.

I think if this century will be defined by anything it will be communication. I think we are communicating more than ever by more means than ever and with more response than ever. This must affect us, how we see ourselves and others. I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts on the subject and the experiences you are having.

My questions are, how do you see yourself (your core being) in relation to the multiplicity of identities you project through social networking and the multiple identities you encounter. Has it affected how you think of yourself and who you feel you are? Do you feel more protective of yourself or have you opened up? Has your relationship to isolation changed?

(I’m doing a little research for a curating project.)