On Creativity and Damage

For some years I’ve been interested in the space where creativity and damage meet. This interest has been explored through a number of means. In 2000, during a residency at Villa Romana, Florence, I repetitively burnt finger-print sized ovals out of a series of found letters. The shadows cast through the apertures created a further “drawing” onto a layer on Japanese paper behind. Over the past decade the apertures and indentations created by burning, singeing and piercing through the paper support, have become more and more minute.



At Kyoto Art Centre, Japan, the large-scale installation, “Shift”, consisted of nine works suspended from the ceiling. Images of Japanese paper teahouses being folded and folded, were singed into and through the surface of the semi-translucent paper.













The process of pin pricking through paper began during my residency at the V&A, London, in 2006. Backlighting was integral to these pieces, the light revealing the drawing. I also employed laser cutting, another form of burning, another form of damage.

V&A Residency, "Gaze"

V&A Residency, "Gaze"

For several years, I have been interested in investigating the relationship between the two sides of a drawing. In 2001 a large-scale work, “Soundpiece”, (Jerwood Drawing Prizewinner), was repetitively singed from the underside of the work.  The later installation “Shift”, invited viewers to walk around and between the works. The heavier paper that I’ve been employing for the last two years, means that the pinpricking “damages” or “disturbs” the surface of the paper in a three dimensional manner. The shadows that were cast through the apertures of earlier works, are now cast by indentations out of, or into the paper.









Unfinished Business curated by Chris Dorsett at Wallington Hall, Northumberland, is an exhibition that I am currently taking part in. (See: unfinishedbusinessatwallington.weebly.com.)The three drawings that I am showing, explore the hemp paper support as if it were a membrane – with the pierced image emerging out of the paper, on the paper or into the paper.

During the current project, notions of damage are fundamental, both in terms of the models that the Nova Zembla prints provide and the way that my drawings have been made. Detailed drawings of the fragmented icepack reflected in a small mirror were repeatedly pierced through to a layer of paper beneath. The first drawings were therefore “sacrificed” in order to make the new ones. Below are details from the series, “Silent Freeze: Mirrored” that will form part of the forthcoming show. Watermarks of the handwritten navigational guide found on Nova Zembla, also form the ground for these works.


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