Artist Curator Photographer Writer Filmmaker
Much of my work as an artist is a response to the flowing narratives of nature, and to the wealth of languages that nature has developed to tell us its stories. Through my close scrutiny of surface I seek to imply and evoke what lies beneath, in the deep structure of matter. Intentionally, my images slip and slide between the descriptive and the abstract - seeking to provoke thoughts and feelings in the viewer, as a musician might seek to encourage thoughts and feelings in the listener.
Thomas Berry, the cultural historian and philosopher of nature, wrote this, for me, inspirational text:
"We are in trouble because we do not have a good story. We are between stories. The old story ... is no longer effective. Yet we have not learned 'the new story'. We are talking only to ourselves. We are not talking to the rivers, we are not listening to the wind and stars. We have broken the great conversation. By breaking that conversation we have shattered the universe. All the disasters that are happening now are a consequence of that spiritual 'autism'.
"The universe story is the quintessence of reality. We perceive the story. We put it in our language, the birds put it in theirs, and the trees put it in theirs. We can read the story of the universe in the trees. Everything tells the story of the universe. The winds tell the story, literally, not just imaginatively. The story has its imprint everywhere, and that is why it is so important to know the story. If you do not know the story, in a sense you do not know yourself; you do not know anything."
An important dimension of Thomas Berry's philosophy grew out of his role as monk, someone who committed much of his life to spiritual reflection. I don't share his faith (although, being European, I swim in its sea) but I can see that humankind's distorted relationship with the universal order is an expression of our distorted relationships with our spiritual selves and with each other. I have come to believe that we human beings have obligations to give respect and honour to the larger forces that shape our universe, and that a sense of the sacred can help us connect to these responsibilities - and offer us a means to give thanks for our boundless rewards.
As an artist -who, like most artists, deals with feelings and intangibles and the mysterious- I have a prejudice that scientific knowledge, economic arguments and political campaigns are vital, but they are not enough. I have come to believe that we, as individual members of a global community, will not find the strength to give the ever-worsening environmental catastrophe the attention and action it demands until we engage with it at the deepest, most subjective, most personal, most essential level ... the point where our imagination, empathy and fellow-feeling come together.
My worldview has inevitably been influenced by the many years I have spent travelling the world as a filmmaker, where I have learnt to appreciate the pleasures of difference while discovering that what connects us is infinitely greater than what divides us.
Artist, photographer, filmmaker, writer
Recent and forthcoming exhibitions include: Utopia-Dystopia, Walcot Chapel & other venues, Bath (artist and curator);Momentum, Redbrick, Glastonbury; Love&Death @ Walcot Chapel, Bath (artist and curator); Still, 44AD, Bath; Deck the Walls, 44AD Bath; Festive, Andelli Arts, Wells; Art of Nature 3, Balaji Temple, Birmingham; Eighth Wonder, 44AD, Bath; Forest of Imagination, 44AD Bath; Timeslip, FaB14 Festival, Bath; Windscapes, Dorchester County Hospital, Dorset; Transformations, PhotoPlace, Middlebury, Vermont; Vinis Vinifera, Dalston, London; Creekside Open, APT Gallery, Deptford, London; TM13, Real Fonderia Gallery, Palermo, Sicily; Lyme Open 2013, Malthouse Gallery, Lyme Regis, Dorset (Prizewinner); SCOPE, Miami, Florida; Colletiva 1, Garage Bonci, Pietrasanta, Tuscany; Immersive video presentation for Cultural Olympiad, ICCI 360 degree Arena, Olympic sailing venue, Weymouth, Dorset.
Film presentations and talks include: ICA, National Gallery, Tate and NFT, London - Modern Art Oxford - Ikon, Birmingham - Orchard, Edinburgh and others across UK - MoMA, Metropolitan, Whitney and Broadcasting Museums, New York - Pompidou Centre, Paris - National Gallery, Sydney.
As well as making my own artwork I have made films featuring visual artists as diverse as Rembrandt and Jean Michel Basquiat, Giotto and Joseph Beuys, Michael Nelson Tjakamarra and Anselm Kiefer. History, politics, belief and ideas run as continuous strands through my work as a fillmaker, but so too do the sensuous and emotional.
I have travelled the world as an award-winning filmmaker, most often in the context of international broadcast. This has taken me to close to 80 countries and has given me a wide frame of cultural reference.
My photographs have been published widely in newspapers and magazines. I have contributed as a photographer to several books and have been sole photographer on two.
I am a member of the Unesco supported Art of Nature network. I am an associate artist at 44AD, Bath, and a committee member of FaB, Fringe Arts Bath.