– working

– synecdoche

– resume

– contact
Working Notes 24 - 27th April 2007


A pebble dropped from a lost bridge into a buried canal. A silent splash. An invisible rippling. Both a particularity of place.

Wormholes through time open up, and memories of what was once here leak out into the present moment. And the future possibility. A letter from Bage to Strutt calculating the strength of beams, or Marshall’s later character assasination of Bage, or the plight of Jeremiah France of 16 Spring Gardens, overseer at the factory; the sound of the scrutcher on the flax brought here from the Low Countries, the Baltic, Ireland and Normandy; the liquidation of 1886 when the colour faded from the site, or the summer of 1987 when the smells of the malting process stopped infiltrating the washing hanging in neighbouring back gardens.

Catching our eye or whispering in our ear. Time traced in the landscaping and the detailing to buildings. Two hundred and ten years collapsed into a series of perfect moments. This is the art of interpretation. Stretching the development opportunity to reveal content and longer term significance. Braque's "survival does not do away with memory".

1st May 2007


[click here for sketchbook#2]


Drive home thoughts – 18th May 2007

How a fragile thought can become robust - that's what interests me most. Painting is left with only the fragile thought. A deadly and uncertain questioning of assumptions about painting's intrinsic value. This is how we understand painting post-Courbet's 'Studio' painting ['The Painter's Studio: A Real Allegory Summing up Seven Years of my Artistic and Moral Life' 1855]. "The world comes to be painted at my studio", said Courbet. And since Manet collapsed the traditional purpose of painting ['Music at the Tuilleries' 1862] by filling the centre of painting with doubt and uncertainty to leave us lost at the periphery. And then through Cezanne to Doctorow's "…universe of totally disparate intentions with everybody going about his or her business in the silence of their own minds".

"Painting doesn't mean anything" (Larry Poons) or the memory of painting? The memory of painting (in dialogue with the ambient) or Leone Alberti's close down of the possibilities (specific viewing distance, a fixed centre and particular lighting positions – an intersection that cannot be altered, the picture plane as fixed boundary). Alberti's let's get real robustness shoring up painting's inherent fragility.

Painting's inherent fragility. Fragile thought. Martin Creed's 'Work No. 88'.

A sheet of A4 paper crumpled into a ball. A fragile thought. But if we credit Creed's 'Work No. 88' with, say, the dimensions of Pollock's 'Lavender Mist: Number 1' (7' 3" x 9' 10") or Courbet's 'Studio' (11' 10 1/4" x 19' 7 1/2"), does the fragile thought become more robust?

A silent splash. An invisible rippling. A pebble dropped from a lost bridge into a buried canal is a fragile thought. As painting. Work that holds itself together without the "factitious unity of the tableau". And from this we can build whole cities indifferent to difference and the relations of difference – a ‘villaging’ that privileges a momentary fragility.

Throwing stones, dropping a pebble, erasing a text, walking and talking – transitional practices, small time tactics, fragile thinking in search of the fullness of time. In search of great time. "I insist on my experience of sensations in time – not the sense of time but the physical sensation of time.” [Barnett Newman].

Painting's institutional values are now in error – damnatio memoriae. Do we have to go through this again?

"...artists grow weary of neglecting their everyday realities in the hope of achieving...art market success... Prevailing ideas about art and culture at numerous academies and art schools are still based upon the concept of originality and uniqueness of art - art in service of representation and not of society. And there is a widespread lack of recognition of the fact that, in an entirely mediatised environment, new and different complex requirements are imposed upon artistic productions and thus upon their producers" [Ute Meta Bauer].

It's just the old con – with the parting on the other side.