Exciting times ahead as we prepare for the opening of our Somerset Art Weeks 2015 exhibition at The Old Brick Workshop. I am exhibiting with twelve other artists but thought I'd give you a sneak preview of what my new work in this exhibition is about...
The exhibition opens 11am this Saturday 3rd October. Hope to see you there!
“Extremely weak. Fault of Pot. Seed”
On April 28th, 1992, Christopher Johnson McCandless hitched to the stampede trail in Alaska. There he headed down the snow covered trail to begin an odyssey with only 10 pounds of rice, a .22 calibre rifle, several boxes of rifle rounds, a camera and a small selection of reading material –including a field guide to the regions edible plants, the ‘Tana’ina Plantlore’. After surviving for more than 100 days McCandless perished sometime around the week August 18th from what was later believed to be starvation by poisoning. It is still uncertain whether the exact cause of his death was due to mistaken identification; the edible Hedsarum Alpinum (Eskimo potato) for the poisonous Hedysarum Mackenzi (wild sweet pea) or the mould which grew on these seeds during their storage inside a plastic bag. Despite the tragic circumstances of his death, McCandless’s story about how finding oneself sometimes conflicts with being an active member in society (actions which were deemed controversial to some) and inspiring testament to the search for enlightenment by immersing oneself into the natural world devoid of material possessions became the bestselling book, ‘Into the Wild’ by the writer and mountaineer Jon Krakauer.
Nineteen years later, I discover the book for the first time in the local bookshop where I work as a Bookseller in Taunton. Inspired by everyday objects, my work in recent years has been dominated by the tools found in my Grandfather’s tool shed. Taking that same fascination of objects and the possible stories they hold, I have created drawings of the objects that McCandless took with him on his journey. I speculate that I am curious too, not in the materialism he chose to abandon but in the significance and essentiality of the few items he chose to keep with him. Ultimately I believe it is about how books can be as informative, influential, misguiding or deceptive as the illusionary, interpretive qualities of art itself.
Never trust an Artist. Never trust a Bookseller!
You can see my work as part of the exhibition at The Old Brick Workshop, Wellington is open daily 11-6 from this Saturday October 3rd until Sunday October 18th