statement

“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.” Albert Einstein.

 With modern technology, forever at our fingertips, stimulation and bombardment from external forces is ever present making peace and solitude a rarity. Even when time and space is created for mindfulness and the spiritual, true stillness is fleeting, overshadowed by our chattering individual selves. I am fascinated with this internal battle, the veil that lies between the internal and external, spiritual and material. Within my work I often use water to symbolise this veil that is temporally permeable. Water has the obvious multi faith connections with spiritual cleansing and baptism, it is completely immersive, all encompassing and has a powerful effect on our physical and mental states.

On a personal level I use the environments that water offers to broaden my level of mental and physical experience.  The repetitive nature of long distance swimming shuts out the external world and allows me a meditative state. When surfing I find that the speed of action required to harness the waves energy results in a take over by an instinctual reflex, a focus that is so strong it eclipses all other stimuli. In this primeval state, personal energy is so wound up in the energy of the surroundings, the two become harmoniously intertwined. Freediving also offers elevated states of mind, not only because of the controlled breath, but because of the experience had in the water, the deeper you go, the more ‘other worldly’ it becomes. Whilst the physical pressure felt on all the body makes you extremely aware of your physical self, being surrounded by the beauty of such an expanse of heavy water around and on top of you allows an incomprehensible, yet deep understanding of our fragile personal existence and eventual unity with all existence. The relaxation needed to go to any depth is only attainable once you become truly comfortable within oneself in that moment.

It is internal experiences like these that I choose to explore within my work. We live in a world of barriers, one where emphasis is put on our differences and competitiveness for economic growth is encouraged. As a whole we have become out of balance with the natural world and as a result are knowingly heading down paths of varying degrees of self destruction, unable to turn around. My artwork ignores issues that separate us, such as language, sex, nationality or race, and instead highlights collective emotions and experiences, focusing on underlying currents that unite and encouraging feelings of empathy. I believe that it is through feelings of connectedness that we can go on to celebrate surface individualism and differences with an unthreatened and appreciative understanding.

I am heavily influenced by the ideas and works of R.D.Laing, Marcus Coates and Joseph Beuys, each of their insights offering emancipation and healing from this fractured modern day world.

Language, the thinking on the problem, is a more important sculpture even than the end process existing in tools or in paintings, or in drawings, or in carvings. This transcendent character of information, in an invisible world, gives us at the same time the proof… that we are not only biological beings, material beings, but first spiritual beings, not existing on this planet”

Joseph Beuys[1]

 

[1] mesch, C & Michely, V.Eds. (2007) Joseph Beuys: The Reader London. I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd. p.427.

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