"It is because we enter into the meditations, designs, and destinies of something beyond ourselves that the contemplation of the ruins of human power excites an elevating sense of awfulness and beauty" Shelley.
A horse with a missing leg, its graceful form silhouetted against a woven backdrop posed like a performer on a stage. Across the delicately crafted surfaces a patina eludes to stories of conflict, worship and wonder.
I became interested in ancient artefacts as a source for drawings on a late night visit to the Louvre walking around the Roman and Greek collections. For some time I had been looking for a new subject that combined several different themes: Ecology, animals and particular visual techniques. While in the Louvre that evening I found the starting point that enabled me to combine those passions into a drawing practice.
I was aware of the influence museums have had on artists through the Surrealist. I had followed a path laid out by a key founder of the Surrealist movement, André Breton, who had a passion for collecting ancient artefacts and curiosities. That same path led me to looking at encyclopaedic collections of objects and the wonderful ideas associated with Wunderkammer, with its profound belief that nature was linked to art. Like the surrealists I found collections in the Louvre and in subsequent visits to various major and small museums across Europe to be a rich source of inspiration. Here were objects and methods of display that echoed many of my own thoughts on how nature is viewed and treated. Artefacts from collapsed societies and civilisations in wonderful juxtapositions acting out absurd dramas, microcosms of how the natural world has become a commodity, placed in a cabinet and viewed as something separate.
All this might not be entirely evident in the final drawings, however these ideas affect the choices of images I take and choose to draw; in essence the drawings are a form of study on these themes. The intention is to arrive at something that is an echo of cabinets of curiosities that introduces a sense of ambiguity to each composition. Within in each drawing there is an intention to look closely at every scratch, chip, missing leg, to celebrate years of damage either deliberate or by accident. As museum exhibits it is generally excepted that these artefacts will be damaged. For me there is a link to be made that echoes the current thinking around environmental damage; it seems that a norm has developed that makes environmental damage tolerated and a given.