Red Garden (projects made during 2023 and 2024)

Quick, said the bird, find them, find them,
Round the corner. Through the first gate,
Into our first world, shall we follow
The deception of the thrush?

Eliot 'Burnt Norton'

Despite my best efforts the concerns I had when developing the the geranium project remain central to my practice and I feel as if I'm in a continuing dialogue with nostalgia evoked, in particular, through the Four Quartets

The work I started in November 23 led to me making space in the studio to build a large sculpture based on the three trees maquettes. The sculpture has spaces inside its mass that are inaccessible to adults because that's the truth of the actual location (I am working alongside on a VR project that will express this better). In order to clear apples from the garden I need to get on my knees and that act immediately changes my relationship with the space. I am attached more strongly to the ground, limited in my ability to move and given a different view of things. It's this feeling I carry in to making and essentially try to replicate in the process. The object is the manner of its making.

When I was talking to people at the open studio in December the film elicited some comments about its elegiac quality, which tied into my thinking through Eliot's 'deception of the Thrush'. Given that gardens in Christian thought are always the garden of Eden and consequently serve as a metaphor for the loss of innocence, the reference to my own garden uses it as trigger for the desire to reclaim something lost. The something lost is lost in innocence rather than being innocence. The problem with the past is that memory and nostalgia render it different to the degree that what you desire from the past isn't what it was in the past, and the suggestion that it can be reclaimed is doubly erroneous as you yourself are the major difference that prevents its return. This is of course entirely obvious and is not the reason that the work is made but is probably the motivation for it being made. I'm still trying to articulate this properly and perhaps that's the wrong thing to do as nothing kills creation for me quicker than having a reason to do it. I think it becomes contingent when it has that kind of rationale attached. It has to remain poetry rather than prose.