My approach to Material Thinking is to focus on the inherent aesthetic and physical properties of material objects.
My work is best described as neo-minimalist. As with Carl Andre and Agnes Martin, my pieces are without inherent meaning, but nevertheless are not meaningless. The process of making is meditative, leading beyond the material to memory and, ultimately, to the immaterial.
During the past months I have been working with corrugated cardboard and bamboo skewers. The cardboard is designed to crumple on impact, which means it must be handled with care to prevent damaging the corrugations, but this is possible, and the material can be rolled and unrolled many times. I like the juxtaposition of the fierce sharp skewers with the fragility of the cardboard. Indeed, it is a marriage made in heaven: the skewers not only bed perfectly in the grooves but they also fit perfectly into the flutes (technical word for the corrugations) so that they can be used both for construction and to repair dents in the surface. It’s interesting that removing the pointed end of the skewers dramatically blunts and flattens the visual impact of the work.
I made some objects which fulfil the function of a sketchbook: artifacts rather than art, you might say. The first of these, Scrab Dibbler, was made some years ago while I was waiting to begin my MA. It has been on my wall ever since, an uncanny, but now familiar presence. These artifacts are its descendants.
Three wall-hangings, however, have taken on a life of their own, reaching that point where they separate themselves from me so that nothing can now be added or taken away. They are titled Icon I, Icon II, and Icon III, signalling the eternal over the temporal. This perhaps frames them more than is desirable – art, to my mind, speaks for itself and should need no explanation.
Making the work gives me time to reflect on the strange attraction to these materials which chose me as much as I choose them. As I work their resonance unfolds: furrowed fields, corrugated iron buildings, and the sound of rain on a corrugated iron roof…
This should not be taken to imply that my work can be read as personal narrative. It is simply an acknowledgement that autobiography is the bedrock of art practice.