anti art

Picking wall paper

getting into trouble.

pulling things apart.

        I’m enjoying working a bit differently in the studio.  I’ve developed a process which is without a recipe or system for remembering how it was done.  A kind of anti art.  The term anti-art, a precursor to Dada aimed to challenge the accepted definitions of art.

I saw a programme recently about how artists were inspired by the decay of posters on walls and billboards, where posters had been worn away to reveal what’s underneath. Layers of wallpaper and paint in a dilapidated house that reveal patterns from the past in the same way that archaeology reveals layers of time.

So, drawing and painting what you see is all very well, but why, when you can already see it?

I am working with what I don’t understand or see and within that, trying to make sense of the world.

I’m using paint, collage, ink, wax, sewing, burning, rubbing, printing, tearing, stencilling and anything else I can think to do.  both creative and destructive.















irish connections

Portland Works is hosting the Irish Connections Exhibitions as part of the Sheffield Irish Association celebrations.  It is a group exhibition of work from people with Irish connections.  The launch and private view was on Saturday and it was great to meet new people and celebrate with everyone. The exhibition is on until 18th March.

Since the great hunger in 1845 the Irish people have been leaving Ireland to take up employment and residence all over the world.  The Irish Diaspora in Sheffield is descended from people who walked over the Pennines from Liverpool and Manchester to seek employment in the cutlery and tool making industry

The Portland Works complex is a fitting venue for this exhibition and demonstrates the connection and continuity of the Irish people in Sheffield.


Leaflet 1
Irish Connections

You can see my work ‘seed’  an installation of poetry, earth and print installed into the space along with work from other artists.

Irish exhibition
seed: detail of installation as part of Irish Connections exhibition
Seed detail1
seed: detail
Seed detail2
seed: detail
Seed detail3
seed: collage and acrylic on cloth


still life

This week in the studio I have been back to the drawing board…. observational meditations on familiar objects around me.

paint brushes, rags, paper…….

I spend a lot of time using these objects, yet take them for granted, so I enjoyed looking and giving them attention.


brushes and paper. Pencil on paper
brushes in glass. Pencil on paper

seed thought

I’ve been mostly working in the bath today.

In doing so I’ve been thinking about how images and words rise.   The ideas that are the most meaningful for me as an artist are usually the ones that come when I’m relaxed, immersed or bathing in something… a warm bath or sleep.

I like the idea of holding the first thought, this is what the yogi’s call the seed thought.  It’s the primal thought that rises from the unconscious (or where ever it comes from!) Before the intellect gets to work, fragments it and chews it up into pieces.



I’ve been in the studio this week sticking and pasting using newspaper.  I’m making a banner (of a kind) with the poem I wrote earlier in the month.  I’ve completed all the words which makes it about 14 foot long…..

Seed poem detail
Seed poem detail
Seed poem detail

winter january

I’ve been making a new website over the last few weeks, it is getting there structurally,  still more content to add.  I’ve been doing some writing too…… I’m working on some pieces based on a poem ‘Seed’  (see below) which is inspired by winter.

waiting, still, in the dark


waiting, still, in the dark





start from the bottom,

deep in the earth,  where it is dark and quiet.

Waiting  still

in the dark.

A sigh

and a wiggle of the toes

but still

in the dark.


for sounds that may

or may not grow

into a symphony….perhaps.

Still, in the dark,

Winter cold eats into toes,   that feel the deep dark soil

that catches between them, like sand on a beach

scratching a sound in the dark.

waiting still, in the dark,

Asleep in the comfort of velvet soil

warm and soft where the wood sap seeps.

Why would any seed want to grow?

But as growing


swelling, resting, resting, resting, gaining, moving, pushing,

call it what you will…

Moving through and up and out

What could stop it?

Still in the dark


When comfort’s seen

it slaps the face

like an old wet fish

and anger roars from its slumber

thrashing and howling like a small child that doesn’t know what anger is.

And so words

grow like body or mind, out of the ground and from that darkness into