Being in the moment

Dogwalk 2008 Twigs, pins, paper

 

I’ve always felt the worst thing you can do is think. When I’m making I need to dissociate myself from everything and act automatically if the work is to be any good. Clearly this is not axiomatic, there is too much evidence to the contrary in my drawers.

 

 

 

Dogwalk 1 2008, Twigs, paper pins

 

When I moved to Doncaster I had limited space to work and certainly no space for sculpture. I continued a habit of collecting ‘stuff’ as I walked my dogs, twigs, bits of detritus, feathers, etc., and kept a bag full of it in the garage. Periodically I would spend time joining these bits together. The model for this activity for me was David Smith’s residency in Italy at Voltri in 1962.

 

 

Dogwalk 2 2008 pins, paper, twigs

 

Smith was invited to make two sculptures for the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, and given the choice of five abandoned welding factories around Genoa. He chose one in the small town of Voltri. Inspired by the wealth of material available he made 27 sculptures in 30 days. The Wall Street Journal has a good article here.

 

 

Voltri VII

David Smith Voltri VII, 1962 Photo: © The Board of Trustees, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

 

Finding an array of parts, wheels, girders, tools and so on, Smith just built. I can imagine the energy generated by the sheer joy of combining these objects.

I adopted this approach when I discovered it because that kind of energy can only work when decisions become intuitive. I find that I work best when I have progressed beyond careful consideration into try and fail, try and fail, try and accept. I won’t say succeed.

 

 

Since then I have had a working practice, that I’m still tied to, that means I can work for an hour or so each day before I have to stop. The next day I need to be able to pick up the traces quickly, contemplation is not an option when time is limited. So I built small sculptures at a rapid rate, developing the ideas quickly, each responding to whatever I pulled out of the bag, and began to notice connections rather than engineering them. The ‘dogwalks’ maquettes, never to be realised as sculpture, are my effort at generating this kind of energy

 

Voltri VI

Voltri VI, 1962 Steel, 98 7/8 x 102 1/4 x 24 in. (251.1 x 259.7 x 61 cm.) Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection, Dallas, Texas 1978.A.0 .

 

reference for Voltri VI

reference for Voltri VII




Woman Walking with Hand to Mouth

Four views of a work in progress.  This is four views of a single figure, about one metre tall, made from hardboard and fixed with a glue gun.  The figure is from Muybridge– ‘Woman walking with hand to her mouth’

Woman Walking Downstairs

The desire here is to get the kind of movement you find in Duchamp into the single figure, or to simply have the movement apparent in the static representation, so it’s very much a first version, and very much unfinished.

That may be a characteristic of my work on reflection, the ‘unfinished’ quality. I won’t claim it as deliberate, but then I do stop.

Duchamp - Nude Descending a Staircase

The process I try to follow when I work is to work without reference, to try to let the object dictate it’s own result.  There are some other examples here

Acknowledgements:

wikimedia commons Eadweard Muybridge

Nude Descending a Staircase No. 2 – wikipedia 21/04/12