A Blot is the Landscape


Upcoming exhibition based on climate change. [See exhibitons for more details]

My Work

A five word overview of my art could be ''A Blot is the Landscape''.

All my artworks have been, at one stage in their production, made from blots of ink or paint, and through this blotting process I am investigating the structure of nature.

To blot is to make shapes with a liquid on a surface, and thus produce accidental forms without lines, from which ideas are presented to the mind. These ideas conform to nature because nature’s forms are not distinguished by lines but by shade and colour. Since an accidental blot will suggest different ideas to different viewers, blotting will tend to stimulate and encourage the powers of invention.

Leonardo da Vinci, the artist scientist, suggested assisting invention in this way. In his Treatise on Painting he wrote:

“Look at walls splashed with a number of stains or stones of various mixed colours. If you have to invent some scene you can see there resemblances to a number of landscapes, adorned in various ways with mountains, rivers, rocks, trees, great plains, valleys and hills. … Look into the stains on walls, or the ashes of fires, or clouds, or mud, or like things, in which, if you consider them well you will find marvellous ideas.

“Leonardo was seeking to find order in nature, not via traditional reality, the copying of scenes or perspective, but by searching for reminiscent patterns in nature’s chaos.

The differences in the artistic and the scientific approach to nature fascinate me. I spent ten of my youthful educational years learning about applied mathematics and modelling fluid flows, then recently eight years studying art at the University of East London. My art has always been about modelling nature, and the landscape. I used to hunt for unusual marks in nature, for example spiders’ webs, or birch bark, or for the traces of the forces of nature, such as fluid flow, decay, rusting or compression and use these to make abstract prints.

My knowledge of classical geometry led me to make my art abstract using methods of reduction and simplification. It is only in the last few years that I have become aware of a new extremely visual geometry, called fractal geometry, that concentrates on describing nature’s complexity, on its irregularity and fragmentedness, and on the self-similar patterns that can be seen at many scales. In fractal geometry an irregular fragmented reality is modelled with a fractal model no simpler or smoother than the original. Obviously a method of abstraction based upon complexity would be much more in line with a fractal view of nature’s abundant complexity. So in my art I have begun to focus on abstraction not by simplification, but by complication, and my most recent etched and painted images model nature by celebrating the fractal qualities of self-similarity and scaling in a dynamic system.

[See exhibitons]