A moment of reflection and a naming ceremony

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With keys to our new house, and plenty of empty floor space at my disposal I take the opportunity to lay out my final prints on and take a view on what I have produced in the last few weeks, and more importantly which pieces I am going to frame (in addition to the pieces I have already selected for the show). It’s incredibly satisfying to see the work laid out like this and I do feel quite proud of where I am now at within my practice, I feel it hangs together as a body of work, but more importantly I feel it has a direction that I can confidently explore going forward.

As I am about to head to the framers a thought suddenly occurs. None of my images are signed, editioned or named, resulting in a furious hour with pencil and eraser. In the end this is probably a good thing – and I realise I have been prevaricating to avoid this task because the names do now seem so important these pieces in a way I hadn’t felt before now (even at Sarah and Ian insistence that they needed naming). I want the names to draw the viewer into a narrative, but at the same time not impose one. Eventually I settle on a naming system that seems to fit this body of work and my relationship with it. Drawing on the deep connection I feel between my work and the music that sound tracked its unwitting conception back in Iceland I chose to name my works after songs by the band Explosions in the Sky. Even under the pressure of needing to get the work to the framer, there is something effortless in the act of connecting these pieces with these elusively narrative song titles. I realise how strong the narrative I have created around these works has become over the weeks, and so the gas tower becomes “Wilderness”, expressing a sense of an urban civilisation returned to the wild, and a sense of the hope of rebirth therein. The motorway triptych becomes “Losing the light I, II & III”, not simply for it’s subject but for the slow, calm loss of hope at the end of days. In that quiet moment I allow each piece to present it’s narrative within The Quiet Earth before selecting a song title that encapsulates it, somehow this feels more powerful that creating the titles myself – each title effectively performing the role of the found object, slightly removed from the narrative I have imposed, but elusively evoking it.  

In the afternoon I go to Niche framing in Stokes croft, which proves to be a confusing, nerve wracking and expensive experience. Discussions swing between mounting directly on to the glass for maximum clarity, versus having a mount to avoid the risk of the print sticking to the glass. In the end I opt for the mount, but I leave nervous about the result.

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