Underground Animalia is a series of eighteen drawings in oil stick on Strathmore mixed media paper colored with an underlayer of acrylic paint. They are inspired by my ongoing interest in what lies under the surface of things, both metaphorically and factually. There is a real-life community populated with a diversity of creatures that live concealed in the darkness of the subterranean landscape beneath our feet.
Underground Animalia is a visual homage to the tiny insects and other invertebrates found in forest soil that are fundamental to our own survival. In my drawings they appear larger than life and are transfigured by the use of vibrant colors and textural scratches. Each “bug” is surrounded by dark tones and rich textures, like a fertile earth environment. Largely invisible to most humans, these creatures are intimately involved with essential soil functions like regulating bacterial and fungal activity, transforming organic matter, and enhancing plant growth, all necessary to forest life-cycles. Hundreds of species, represented by thousands or millions of individuals, can occupy a single square metre of soil. When land is compromised and the above-ground species it supports are disrupted and/or disappear, so too go these tiny unseen earth-makers.
Attachment Object One, Two and Three are a group of oil stick drawings on primed Stonehenge paper. The images are based on rusty metal objects I unearthed while digging in my garden. I live in an old house and often find mysterious cast-offs in various stages of decay that at one time had significance to those who lived or worked here before me. I liken them to artifacts discovered during an archaeological dig. These particular objects were large nails or tools used to attach one material to another. Paradoxically the title also refers to seeking for non-attachment to things and outcomes, which is not always easy to attain in a culture that insists on unfettered consumerism.
Trees, Hiatus is a series of twenty drawings, each one depicting a leafless tree, executed in oil stick on Stonehenge paper first colored with acrylic paint. The images stem from my interest in the growth patterns of various deciduous tree species. The lines and shapes defined by their branches are most evident during winter dormancy or, more disturbingly, when they are killed by drought, fires, and insect infestation resulting from climate disruption.
Micro A and Micro B are explorations of diminutive life forms greatly enlarged and drawn in oil stick over acrylic paint on Stonehenge paper. I have a fascination with the relationship between the often invisible lives of microorganisms and the varied macro environments in which they exist. These tiny, visually stunning creatures, though at times considered menacing by humans, have an innate intelligence and adaptivity.