My background is as a sculptor but a contemporary art maker would be a more accurate description of what I do. In the past I have made several, very home made, "Knocked up in my garden shed" vehicles from recycled materials, starting with a boat made from driftwood and culminating with an aeroplane made from tea chests and newspaper.
My approach to the Artists and Writers Programme in Antarctica is self conscious and self analytical. With my work and by the choice of materials that I bring with me, I will be making visual references to my role as 'artist'. I am transporting a large quantity of gold picture frames and plan to build a sledge from them at Rothera. When the sledge is finished the intention is to use it at either Fossil Bluff or Sky Blu so that I can document it in the archetypal bleak environment. I am looking for the classic, featureless 'blank canvas' landscape that is synonymous with the Antarctic.
As well as using the frames I will also be utilizing scrap material that I find on station. Something banal and taken for granted in the Antarctic, like the plywood B.A.S. crates and boxes, have an almost mythical quality for me and others who have never been there. Though it may just be packaging at High Cross or Rothera, presented reverently in the art gallery, this material still has connotations of the heroic age of exploration. I am interested in this notion of the 'genuine article' and I want to bring back as much material to the UK as I can and plan to continue working with it in my studio on my return. My own crates, which will carry the gold picture frames, are of particular interest to me as I intend to use them to paint landscapes in. I have used wooden boxes to paint in before but in the past their history has been quite arbitrary or purely aesthetic but for this project there will be an emphasis on authenticity.
Whilst on my journeys, my research will involve using a camera and strategically placing some children's toys such as 'Action Man Polar Explorer' and 'Matchbox' series Snow-Trac, into the landscape to photograph. I want to contrast these small, vulnerable, artificial representations of polar research with the reality of life in the Antarctic. This research will be used in conjunction with my paintings on my return to the UK. In the past I have included photographic and kinetic elements within my paintings and I hope to make a bank of images and objects for this purpose.
As my subject matter is centered on notions of the 'real' and 'genuine' I am keen to accompany anyone on journeys that offer unique experiences so please don't hesitate to interrupt my activities to invite me.