We Are Back In Our Minds Again
09 Aug 20 by justatest
Around the time of the financial crash, a large hotel in a neighbouring village had shut down and had been left abandoned. Over time it was vandalized and stripped of fittings and gradually became a derelict ruin.
I noticed the boundary wire of it´s tennis court had collapsed and lay in piles rusting on the ground. Next morning I arrived early and took as much of it as I could.
I stored the wire behind the studio and made a little note of what I planned to make at that time when I would return to live there.

We Are Back In Our Minds Again, mixed media [1.9m X 2.5m X 4m (approx)] June 2020

On arrival to live in the new studio, I sent a project application to the local town art centre proposing a one-man show in their gallery. This sculpture was to be one of the central pieces of the exhibition. The proposal was refused. So I decided instead that if the worthy burghers of the town didn´t consider my stuff good enough for their space, I´d at least put this one outside in the hope that my own neighbours in the locality, and the occasional passers-by wouldn´t also voice their objections. Despite the occasional raised eyebrow, it turned out that the country people were much more flexible to, (and occasionally appreciative) of this new imposition in their visual environment.

Rear View

We Are Back In Our Minds Again, rear view [mixed media, 1.9m X 2.5m X 4m (approx)] June 2020

Leaves of the cordyline tree had been used in a previous work and I was looking to exploit them again here for their hardiness and constant presence as they are shed all year round. I reckoned that with their continuous addition as they fall, the sculpture would visually be in flux as the old leaves aged and rotted, and new ones are applied.

Site Preparation

Work-in-progress and site location preparation

So I knew the location where I wanted to place it would take the full brunt of the sea gales and was determined to anchor it well. I dug up a good section of earth and sought out the largest rocks and concrete blocks from around and about to secure to. I decided to use the fallen leaves of the cordyline tree in the background for the surface.

Design sketch

Sketch for proposed sculpture

This was the first work I was to do for ´outside´. For decades I´d been making indoor sculpture which was basically oil on canvas taken to 3 dimensions which, unfortunately no-one ever wanted, and I was ever on the hunt for spaces to store the works.
The space owners mostly ended up dumping them.
Anyway, the current studio has a garden and for the first time I have lots of place outside to put the stuff.
I wanted to make a free-standing work robust enough to withstand the gale-force Atlantic winds coming off the sea and over the lake. A piece large enough to leisurely walk around, and reflecting, by way of it´s form, the simple rustic environment.

First Disc (in progress)

Taking a look after finishing one side and inner segments. Such precision.

I then basically spent much of the winter long inside on the very boring work of building the three discs, whose eventual height was determined by the low doorway.

Preparing The Wire

Twisting lengths of wire around the links

It was ten years after ´acquiring´ the wire that I finally got around to dedicating the time necessary to undertake the project. Unfortunately the wire turned out to be a woven type that had no rigidity and would collapse on itself in an untidy heap on the ground. My job over the following winter months was to cut and twist an extra piece of wire around every link where the weaves met. It was a hideously tedious and lengthy job but necessary in order to make the wire more robust and to lend it some structure.