The work looks great in Bromley, both in the gallery space and the display cases throughout the library. The install went well and people seem excited and glad to see my efforts. It features all the new drawings, prints and sewn work i’ve made. This is a phone shot i took yesterday in the entrance of the new wall hanging and one i took in the garden at home and below is the accompanying statement for the whole show.
What distinguishes the life of a village is that it is also a living portrait of itself: a communal portrait, in that everybody is portrayed and everybody portrays: and this is only possible if everybody knows everybody. A village’s portrait of itself is constructed not out of stone but out of words, spoken and remembered: out of opinions, stories, eyewitness reports, legends, comments and hearsay. And it is a continuous portrait: work on it never stops.
I love John Berger and his writings on place, animals, people…..everything, I regularly turn to him to think through stuff. The quote above is his. It’s the perfect description of many villages, mine included – Uffington. Like many Lincolnshire villages it’s part of an agricultural area that’s highly managed and financially valuable, yet it’s challenged by environmental, economical and social tensions. Historically and politically relevant Uffington is originally the county seat of both the Kesteven and Lindsey families and sits at the county boundary with Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, Rutland.
The drawn, collaged and sewn ‘portraits’ shown here in Bromley House Library are inspired by this village and its tensions; my embedded farming connection, the village photographic archive, landscape representations and reflections on Berger’s quote. Made over recent months, the work ultimately responds to land and water, how we farmers do, lost architectures and workings, weather and geography, time and stories. Importantly the work is my version of a place, it’s about my looking and a way of seeing.
This show is dedicated to John Berger [1926 -2017] and is kindly supported by the St Hugh’s Foundation.