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Watermans – Preparing the exhibition

I’m preparing work for a solo exhibition Gravitate at Watermans Gallery, London opening June 7th. It will include the light installation Flown, drawings and the very beginnings of new works in maquette form.

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The work will show the relationship between my drawings and light works. It’s the first time I have exhibited a large group of drawings and they range in scale and complexity. Until quite recently I saw them as a ‘backroom’ figuring out process, but they are now joining the light works centre stage.

Flown will be in its largest form responding to light, temperature and humidity. Sean Clark and I have been looking at the final details. Each time we have shown it there have been adjustments and that will no doubt carry on, but there is a sense of arrival and completion.

The new light work maquettes come out of the drawings on show and are prototypes for extensive pieces that will continue to grow. They relate to a new body of work I’m developing in my studio through drawing and model making with funding from Arts Council England.

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Some of the best parts of bringing the work together are the conversations with people I work with. I have an ongoing reflective discussion with my mentor, Professor Linda Candy. Through our mutual persistence I am seeing the benefits of writing about my work. Gaining insights that would not happen in any other way. I really never expected this to happen. It upholds a mantra that crosses my mind most days: ‘Perseverance furthers’.

Sean Clark is my collaborator in extending and developing light works. We spent a great day this week looking at each light piece, working out how far it would go this time and all the things it needs. Our questions were around the relationships between materials, technology and programming. The scope of discussion is ever inspiring and expands my conceptual understanding. There is a drive to get it right for now and emerging ambitions of how it can develop in the future.

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Sorting out the electronics and advising on materials is Luke Woodbury a Creative Technologist I’ve worked with on a number of projects. We look at all the physical parameters focusing on the how materials and light work together. There’s a delight in exploring all the possible solutions, including the simple low-tech answers. Its a real lateral thinking process about what is the best, most straightforward answer to the puzzle.

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In constructing some frameworks I’ve been working with Ian Fuller, a local craftsman/carpenter in Hastings. He is making some of the lightbox and maquette structures for this exhibition. When it’s all in the attention to detail you have to go steadily and mull the whole object over to get it right. It’s invaluable to have someone who carries that part of the work so precisely.

An unexpected development has been working with the Denise Lancaster at Carbon Framing. She has clarified an important perspective on the work. When I am drawing with rules, structures emerge and despite my best efforts I often find the lines flying off the side of the paper

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I have assumed that I will rectify this by a framing device. But this was the very thing she pointed to as a vital element in the work. ‘These images have grown through a process, if you straighten them they lose their movement and integrity.’ The drawings will now be largely shown as they appeared on the paper.