works info

 

 

 

 

[email protected]

 

Hidde van Seggelen Gallery

Ruskin School of Art

 

This website is developed in the possibly rather misguided expectation that it will be viewed on a computer screen.

 

 

Underlying the works and exhibitions documented on this website is a broad commitment to questioning how images move between mediums and through the world, how they shape consciousness and the perception of time, and what it means to represent. Indivisible from this is a fascination with the embodiment of thought, the embeddedness of humanity in technology, and with the complex dialectical play between the visual and the verbal. Such seemingly abstract or distanced concerns are subtended by more human and personal ones: no less significant is finding a space in which to explore what it is to be visible, what it is to touch and be touched, and for visibility or touch to be withheld.

Given my interests, how art is documented and disseminated has been a consistent issue. My early collaboration with the group Critical Practice, from around 2005–2007, sustained an optimistic engagement with the cultural possibilities raised by the digital creative commons. Offering a productive counterpoint to this was the concurrent development of an approach to painting that, while emulating qualities of the increasingly ubiquitous digital image, fundamentally undermined photographic reproduction. The resulting works played to the binocularity of human vision, appearing different in each eye; they radically altered appearance with any slight shift in lighting; they were flat surfaces that, like sculpture, presented different aspects as the viewer moved around them; they were reflective surfaces that, while alluding to glossy photographs or screens, collapsed the viewer and the gallery into the painting. They demanded time. They were hard to see and certainly hard to pin down—rather than identity they were characterised by change; by unfixed appearance and a sense of permanent becoming.

The exhibition of these works in -form, a solo show in London in the autumn of 2007 that featured the earliest works documented on this site, fell a couple of months after the launch of the first smartphone, the iPhone. It thus coincided with a radical transformation in how images were made and viewed, and more generally with how we negotiate and understand our world. All the subsequent works documented here are responses to this transforming currency of images. The fascinations driving these early works—animation through light, a play between the visible and the invisible, between the material and the immaterial, between the singular and the reproduced—remain central to my work today. The interest in the Utopian potential of the digital image is, however, dimmed. My concern since around 2007 has instead been with surveillance capitalism and the increasing corporate monopoly on the channels and formats through which visual culture passes.’

Which is a longwinded way of saying that while I’m intrigued by technology and believe it a fundamental aspect of what it is to be human, I’ve never had a smartphone, a social media profile, or an Instagram account, and I make no apology if this website is frustrating or incomprehensible when viewed on a smartphone.

 

I studied at Chelsea and the Slade before completing a practice-led doctorate at the Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford, where I currently teach. I’ve held research fellowships at Yale and Oxford and published a modest number of articles in scholarly journals such as October, the Oxford Art Journal, British Art Studies, the Sculpture Journal, and forthcoming in The Art Bulletin. These have addressed seemingly disparate themes, such as confluences between emerging understandings of electricity and early nineteenth-century landscape painting; the influence of photomechanical reproductive technologies on early twentieth-century sculpture; and puppets in early twenty-first century video art. At some point I should also bring to a close a couple of interrelated book projects that have occupied me for many years, one on disembodied hands and embodied thought, the other on John Constable and the boundaries of painting.