Archives for the month of: April, 2012

Back from a week in Cirali where I took multiple photos around the sun dappled ruins of Olympos with a view to using these when constructing my images for ‘Incidence’ the new work I am planning for Surface II at The Crypt Gallery in July.

While away I read The Blasphemer by Nigel Farndale which was a very moving novel set between the first world war and present day. Amongst many other issues about morality, guilt & belief it discusses the idea of religious visions which I found fascinating and relevent to my thoughts on the new work ‘Syndrome’ I am planning for the Illumini exhibition in September. The central character’s belief is that a vision such as seeing an angel or apparition will be caused by some physical phenomenon, a visual aberration caused by light refraction or a hallucination caused under physical duress of some kind such as heat stroke and dehydration.  He is looking for a scientific explanation much as Charles Dickens’ Scrooge claims the ghost of Jacob Marley must be ‘an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato’.

The work ‘Syndrome’ will be an installation exploring the inner recesses of the mind. The theme this year for Illumini is Dickensian Hauntings and so I am looking at Dickens interest in hypnotherapy.

The box is often used as an analogy to explain a closed space in the mind where secrets and fears are stored. In hypnotherapy the box can be suggested as a place to contain and therefore control unwelcome thoughts and overwhelming emotions.

Dickens passion was the stimulation and nurturing of the imagination, to retain a childlike wonder in the world throughout life. As a small boy he experienced the frisson of fear from the grotesque and macabre tales his nursemaid delighted in telling him. Stories from the Arabian Nights with their supernatural imagery were also a big influence on his understanding of the power of the mind to create all sorts of fancies. He was naturally drawn to mesmerism (a precursor to hypnotherapy) when the craze arrived in Britain in the 19th Century and learnt the technique himself. Dickens was able to alleviate the physical manifestations of his patients anxieties through mesmeric techniques and became interested in the underlying causes of his patients illness, focusing on the dreams, hallucinations and phantoms they described.  Dickens recognition of the power of the mind meant he remained sceptical to the fervent upsurge of belief in the paranormal, spiritualism and the occult prevalent at the time. He would attempt to explain such supernatural experiences as being a drama of the self, wholly invoked by an imagination stimulated by present sensations interwoven with past memories and future apprehensions.

Kevin passed on to me an article in Wired Magazine March 2012

The God Complex / by Chris Nashawaty / pg. 112

Each year, 50 to 100 visitors to Jerusalem are overcome by a psychiatric phenomenon so intense that in extreme cases, they become convinced they are Jesus Christ. Those affected by what’s known as Jerusalem syndrome believe they are setting the stage for the Messiah’s return; many deliver sermons proclaiming that redemption is at hand. Chris Nashawaty talks to one of the world’s leading experts on this peculiar form of madness to find out whether people are just nuts or if the city holds a strange power.

Other syndromes mentioned in this article are Stendhal syndrome in which visitors to Florence are overwhelmed by powerful works of art and Paris syndrome which is characterised by acute delusions.

The seduction of place, the interweaving of past and present, a collapse of time = psychological disorientation.

Visited the Brains Mind as Matter exhibition at The Wellcome Trust. Looking at the brain as an organ it is so extraordinary how this lump of grey stuff can do such amazing things.

Went to see Jeremy Deller at the Hayward. What a great guy, a gentle humour and a genuine interest in other people. A facilitator.

Reminded me a bit of Louis Theroux – searching out the slightly oddball character but then portraying them with love not cynicism.

Studio work in progress

‘Dream Pony’ lino cut done on master class workshop at Ochre Print Studios with Chris Pig. This is hand printed on japanese paper with a burin.

Loss of childhood – crossover from innocence into a more threatening environment


Collograph plates and prints – working title ‘No Ball Games’  I am thinking of transferring this image onto polyester with a view to incising into it.

Also of cutting a tree/plant or maybe a dream pony!  some fantasy anyway in polyester onto print itself.

Using screens from ‘Subluminal’ work I am testing layering print on plywood and sanding away to reveal colours underneath as these are techniques I may use when making ‘Incidence’ to give a more ethereal look to the woodland, the shadows within.

Hosepipe ban means printing at home makes me feel like a criminal  – hosing off my screens in the garden so am using the Ochre studio much more

Hoping to get a blue live edge perspex for an ‘under the moonlight’

I am also enjoying reading The genius of Dickens by Michael Slater

Dickens strongly believed that Fancy had the power to compensate for disappointment in life.

I am hoping to use this new space much like I use my sketchbook and visual diary. To try out and work through ideas about my work and make a note of influences .

I am feeling very positive about 2012 with some good shows lined up and the opportunity to make new work.