My show was called Box of birds
I love the saying ‘that no man knows what supports him’. Most people have a story they will tell you upon first meeting … an official life story or version of events. But it’s what we hold closer to our chests that interests me.
My childhood home was a yacht and aboard this, I travelled thousands of sea miles. From an early age I began to collect feathers in a box, and this is quite full now. I treasure this box and its contents, kept all wrapped up and taken wherever I moved. Somehow, collecting these feathers in all the places we went was a way of keeping track. Ironically it was also a way of touching ground, in memory and emotion, and connected me to a time and a place.
You see, birds have a very special place in my imagination. Anyone who has helped an injured bird will perhaps recognize the anxiety of holding a feverishly quick heartbeat and its fragile frame in your hands.
The box also contains one other treasure: a wagtail nest. This nest is made with an array of materials all artfully arranged. There are fine twigs, grasses and horsehair, bound on the outside by cobwebs, carefully lined inside with chopped strands fiberglass from the nearby boatyard. This nest is a touchstone.
I love art, writing; every way in which we make things from the material of our lives.
I love that my collection showed me a path when I was at a loss, then, it must be said, that sometimes it got me good and lost again too. I had no idea what would happen when I began to paint and it was not all pleasant … but I am very grateful for what I learned in the process. So Box of Birds is the driver of other stories.
To frame this right, my art has always had narrative aspects, and I am interested in folk tales and fairy tales as a way to tell another version of events. I love to use the landscape as a theatre set for fleeting scraps of mine and other people’s lives, things that are seen only peripherally from the corner of your eye.
I try to stitch together fragments, to give substance to things that need attention. Connections and associations made before you can find the words to describe it, but of course, when you do, the image has become something else, transcribed. Images linked to theatre as art is linked to poetry.
In symbolism Birds mean-opening of the gates, symbols of communication or messengers.