Since the Degree Show, I have had a wonderful invitation to take my display over to the Archaeology Department of York University to talk about how I use archaeology in my work. This is scheduled for next Friday, 10 June at 4pm, at the department in King’s Manor. I’m getting really excited about it, and this has confirmed to me that this is precisely the area I want to be in.
Looking back to when I first started the degree, it was the whole concept of time that I was interested in. Not time as in personal time, memories, reminiscencing-type time, but astronomical time, geological time, deep time. It filled with me with a sense of wonder about this world, and about my own existence in it. My first forays into abstraction were efforts to express time as a visual reality. So it’s no real surprise now to find that I have followed this route even further.
(Vanitas painting, Pieter Claesz)
So why is archaeology in particular the springboard for my art? Giving it a little thought, I realise that for me archaeology is about the following issues:
1) digging below the surface
2) discovering the hidden
3) finding narratives that take you by surprise
4) the laying down and penetrating through layers, both in the physical world and psychologically
5) capturing something of the invisible in a visible site or artefact
6) putting together disparate pieces of a puzzle
7) working towards a better understanding of the world and my place in it
It’s not surprising that I find archaeology such a conducive area of interest as I develop my own practice. What is surprising is that not many contemporary artists have yet discovered this rich seam. Perhaps they will one day.