I am presently working on a piece for the Summer Read exhibition, Norwich. Artists have been invited to make a response to one of six recently published books. An easy chose for me once I found that Jon McGregors "This isn't the sort of thing that happens to someone like you" was amongst the list. One of my favourite novels of the past few years was If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things. His writing is so distinctive while also disturbing the surface of everyday things. I find myself reading sentances several times for their sheer beauty !. His work has been described as "lyrical, painfully authentic, inquisitive rather than confrontaional".
His latest book is a collection of short stories. I have chosen "If it Keeps on Raining" in which a man is building a tree house in anticipation of a flood. We hear his quiet observations of the world, in which we have a sense he is on the outside. These are some preliminary sketches, in which I want to use some of the story, and in particualar some wonderful phrases. I am hoping to combine painting with some hand written text.
I took some along to Turn the Page, but did not finish them in time. They remain a work in progress at the momment. I did however have some interesting conversations with people about them. The directon I wish to take with them became clearer. I will continue to make more and plan to look at how the Victorians dispalyed and catalogued their fossil collections. I am going to pursue an idea that the blue ones in particular, may become "fossilled" pieces of ice - capturing the Artic ice before it disaapears!
I have been continuing to work on these small boxes, and painting little tags. I rather liked the way they fit so neatly into the box, - the edges look attractive! The plan is to resolve and finish them in time for the Turn the Page Book Fair, Norwich on May 3rd/4th.
I made some very small books last year from small price labels. Each had twenty pages,with one word on them. I never felt they were quite finished so have decided to paint some boxes to contain them. I thought I would expereiment with painting them, not sure if they might warp. Although they have become quite dark, I am glad to say they retained there shape.
Revisiting some old ideas which were never quite resolved
"Below the scars of Winters Avalanche"
A sentence I have been mulling over for some time with a view to creating another book. I like the idea of fossils, and history slowly revealing itself. The format has yet to take shape, but I have been enjoying making marks.
"Only in art, only through imagination, do we all genuinely become equal. Because the emphais is not on how different we are, but also on how similar we are, the fact that we are all human, and the fact that we all share this universal space. And once you understand that the Iraqi mother who loses her child grieves over it in the same manner that an American woman does, you can't help but be present." Michelle Langevine Leiby, July 15 20011.
"We don't want to hear of explosions. We don't want to hear about more attacks. We want Peace" Mohamad Heyawi, Bookseller 1968- 2007. Killed by the bomb attack.
"His quiet life deserves more than a footnote." Anthony Shadid, Washinton Post.