Different Worlds - Different Rules



These works have been mentioned in OX Magazine, in conjunction with the Aleksandra Mir exhibition at Modern Art Oxford, ‘Space Tapestry’, also showing at Tate Liverpool.

Having been a science fiction fan since a child and living through the exciting time when space travel first became a reality, I am delighting in the resurgence of interest and growing investment in the ‘space’ of which our planet Earth is less than a infinitesimal speck.

Near my home, is the Rutherford Appleton Laboratories, part of a science research complex known locally as ‘The Atomic’. It also now makes a major contribution to the UK Space Agency and leads me to wonder if, in my lifetime, it will become know as ‘The Space’. With such an everyday presence, it is no surprise therefore, that my thoughts must, as did Aleksandrae Mir’s, turn outwards to our universe and exploration of that ‘final frontier’.

My proximity to a research and development body so involved with space exploration, the recent discovery of earth like planets and a visit to the University of Hertfordshire’s Bayfordbury Observatory four years ago, combined to inform my latest exhibition, ‘Different World – Different Rules’.

During the visit to Bayfordbury Observatory, to view the planet Jupiter, I had been enthralled by a discussion between Hartford university’s scientists on the possibility of extra-terrestial life and the potential discovery of earth like planets. Of course the latter discovery has recently been realized.

The works that make up ‘Different World – Different Rules’ combine the past with the future and consider how Hokusai, an ancient Japanese artist, known for ‘The Great Wave of Kanagawa’, may have responded to the alien waves and skies of such planets. The pieces mix watercolour, acrylic painting and ink stippling (using an automatic stippling pen). The stippling adds a liveliness not often present in Japanese prints. This combination the use of old and more modern media and current technology, is similar to Aleksandra Mir’s use of the contemporary tool, the Sharpie.

While my work isn’t as large as Mir’s, which usually covers all the walls of an exhibition space, the desire to be able to do so is no less. Give me the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern and I’ll drown the viewer in Great Waves. Our current work also differs in that the artist employs a team of young artists who, within the boundaries of her vision, are allowed a certain freedom to make their own marks. As I love mark, I appreciate this variety, however my own recent works tend to controlled repetitive mark and each mark is weighed before placing in its contribution to the image as a whole. If my pieces were as large as Mir’s I too may have to relinquish control – a little.

My own and Mir’s work are similar in that our work is more than mark or image, it reflects on the human experience in some way. The current political and cultural changes within our own world are creating a new planet Earth. It is not only in outer space that there is a different world to explore. It remains to be seen what different rules will apply and what part space research, exploration and related emerging materials and technologies, will contribute to the making of these new rules. A Different World – Different Rules. awaits.