Carceris | 1962 ◊ 2020 | digital 200 x 90 mm

The most striking feature from the original David Bailey photo, the apexes of the angled limbs touching the edges of the frame, forms a springboard for the impression of entrapment and incarceration.

Not only the individual subject but also invoking elements of gender issues and more specifically how women are viewed, not only through the prism of fashion models but also the concomitant wider dilemma of perception, projected onto women in general.

Whilst a relatively obvious interpretation and addition of the original photo, its validity is confirmed as the broader issues around both gender and ethnicity have come, significantly and rightfully, more to the fore during the intervening 50 years.

‘If women aren’t perceived to be within the structures of power, isn’t it power that we need to redefine?’ – Professor Mary Beard

Sky | 2020 | digital ◊ 600 x 400 mm

With good reason, usually we seek the most beautiful, which can often translate as the most extreme, be it the most beautiful sunset, highest mountain or most lush forest. Sometimes life can seem a little tedious, and this is how we bring relief and add variety. But by looking anew at something we often do not notice, although we have it around us every day, we can also find beauty.

All photos were shot during one single day, 28th April 2020, and in the same location, the historic market town of Cangas de Onís, Asturias, Northern Spain, towards the end of the COVID-19 quarantine.

Trammel | 1996 | 452 x 302 mm

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This early work, looks at how as we advance through life there are periods in which we feel somehow trapped in the cycle of work and responsibilities, both personally and at a societal level. Feelings of the ‘grass is greener on the other side’ notwithstanding, increasingly people are taking stock of the nature, basis and direction of their life.

More people are defining a variety of ways of moving away from the restraints of a more commonly defined existence, which can often be self imposed albeit partly through unconscious peer pressure. Despite certain responsibilities, such as children for example, we can still make structural decisions about how and where we live, and the qualities of life that would bring, whilst still fulfilling our responsibilities, albeit in a reconfigured way.

‘Eventually it’s possible to escape from of a labyrinth, but from a straight line never’

Ages | 1996 | 732 x 557 mm

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This piece, also an early work, explores the life themes typical of the issues that become more important as people enter their late twenties. Notions of increasing responsibilities and career direction, and what that may bring; life beginning to feel ‘real’ as the seemingly infinite potential and ‘immortal’ sensations of early twenties begin to fade.The newsprint text montage forming the background clearly shows The Times (UK) Wednesday April 17 1996.

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Scale | 1996 | digitised photographic print ◊ 90 x 360 mm

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The context of something has the ability to change or modify not only our perception or our sense of it, but also what we recognise it to be.

Succeeding decades as we push further into the 21st Century only confirm as increasingly important maintaining a sense of perspective of ourselves; how we fit into society and the world; and how we interact with each. The parameters of how we consider this can slip and slide in different directions, blow up or shrink down, and leave us lost, albeit unknowingly – out of scale.

This need to ensure against a loss of scale applies in a broad range of situations and at different degrees of scope, from ourselves the individual, progressing through wider situations to countries and beyond. For example, we are witnessing countries in many ways dissolving as much of what has defined them for so long becomes superceded.

Also, the shift from analogue to predominantly digital sees us witnessing through social media that an idea represented is considered to mean that something has actually been created. Not that either digital or analogue is deemed to be better, only that we observe these shifts and try to understand what they mean for the world and how we live in it.

‘“Some people lose their sense of proportion; I’ve lost my sense of scale.”’ Will Self, Scale, 1993

Strand | 1993 | digitised photographic print ◊ 450 x 200 mm

By repeating and mirroring something, or part of something, and changing its context, we can create another entirely different thing and infer that it seems part of something larger and more important, such as a section of a DNA strand.

This same mechanism helps us achieve different perspectives and reveal previously hidden aspects of the world around us.

with Cristal McGill

Je rentre dans | 1990 | 367 x 263 mm

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This piece was acquired privately in New York in the Winter of 1992. (Memorable as there had been a particularly severe snowfall.) Although the piece is dated 1990 and is signed, the signature is not fully legible and the artist is unknown. However it would be recognisable to someone who knew it, if anyone could provide further information. On the rear is pencilled ‘Je rentre dans’, I come in, assumed to be the title.

The sombre colour tones render the overall scene as if from a theatre work with anthropomorphic forms being characters in the play. And as in a theatre play, this work is clearly open to a number of interpretations. Looking at the central figure, one interpretation gives us themes of castration and consequent frustration. However, whilst the facial expressions of the two apparently female characters either side of the central figure do allow for this interpretation, there is enough ambiguity for multiple interpretations.

Despite the protagonist position of the central figure, further emphasised by being more brightly ‘lit’, the two figures either side have rich, multi-layered expressions, including fear and embarrassment, as well as coyness in the left hand figure and worry but with a smirk in the right. But there is also a sense of also dominance, as if the apparently male central figure were a lesser being or some kind of pet figure. This is further emphasised by their razor sharp horns and ‘trapping’ the central figure between them, returning us to the initial interpretation, as if the castration had possibly been their handiwork.

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