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Life and death - all in a fragment

John Hansard Gallery and City Art. This year I made myself a promise to meet with good people and to see more art in locations.


After the lockdown I found myself really missing that connection with a gallery, I enjoy the air of solemnity, of reverence that a gallery brings to the work. It hones the mind on what you are seeing, feeling and thinking.


Derek Jarman's Modern Nature

Exhibition 27 November 2021 – 26 February 2022


Life and death, a subject that I could ponder forever on, and a topic of interest for study and my own work since before my undergraduate days.

Technology interfering with our bodies, the belief placed in technology and medical professionals that they know what they are doing. feelings of betrayal, of joy, of hope and fear. I think from this exhibition I particularly focussed on the piece of glass etched with the words life.


a life so profound, made of dust and silica, fragile and in this piece broken, but still wanting Life. The glass represents what we have as our vessel - but when our vessel is damaged beyond repair what then? that piece of us still has desire, to see to feel to think even in the darkest times.

I love the beauty of this piece - a tactile fragment that we can hold onto, that can make us cut and bleed but we still cling to it. Is it human nature? is it the fear of the unknown... if we let go was our life just a fragment of dust and silica...


The other exhibit that had impact on me was by Richard Long at City Art Gallery, Southampton.

His environmental pieces are usually left in the landscape to decay as they will, a fleeting moment of the creative process, captured on film and then the landscape takes back what it hers.



The Wessex Flint Line above, has a relationship in my mind to the Jarmen piece - flint is made from the cavities in the sediment filled by a gelatinous substance over millions of years, such as holes bored by crustaceans or molluscs and that this becomes silicified.


Silica is the stuff of life, we need it for our bones to heal, the importance of the stone capturing in it tiny fragments of evidence of life. Proof of life in a geological sense fragments amassing together to create a new form.


The UNDEREARTH project saw children making music by getting flint pieces - ringing out the tones of the past, the sounds of early life. Someone has said to me that I might be called the 'pebble lady' as I am finding my practice coming back to the relationship with the physical solid form of our world and the emotions we have and can imbue upon them.




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