Elementa – Photography and Installation

Installation at Dronfield Hall Barn 2016

Alchemy of Memories and Imaginings: Scratching the surface of yesterdays dreams.

Wax, 35mm Photographic Transparencies, Volumetric Flasks, Polyester Resin, LED light boxes, Gel Wax,Vinyl

Head and series of 7 works on plinths.

The work uses photographic transparencies from the artist’s childhood. Images taken by him or his family. There are no copies. They have been altered through scratching the emulsion from the surface to create new imaginative forms. One can make out remains of the images – a door of a hotel, the artist as a child on the beach etc. The scrapings of the emulsion are suspended in resin. There is therefore the sense that the whole memory of that moment in time is held within the work and the present is added by the hand of the artist.  It seems clear that our most vivid memories are associated with photographs or physical images . The images are held in resin and wax within scientific volumetric flasks, referencing the alchemical nature of the exhibition.

Considering the memories, the form of a disintegrating head appears resting over the seven works (the number 7 could be representative of the days of the week, the Sabbath or the seven ages of man). The post-modern philosopher Deleuze referred to the fact that the brain is the screen of all the images and emotions and that images are slices of the universe. Wax, according to Sartre is an uncanny substance, having the translucency of skin and the knowledge that it flows suggests the passage of time.


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Series of 6  :   30x20cm Digital C Kodak Chromira Paper                    £100 Framed                                                                                                The very materials of the deserted barn create strata, layers of history buried or removed, reminiscent of the multi coated paintings of Rothko creating deep dimensions and tonality. The muddy floors, with feathers, guano, the sandstone obscured by moss and debris and the substance of light come together sited above the windows where the images were taken.

Every space has its own poetry

In dereliction there is beauty, as it takes us to the questions of time and hope.

I wanted to listen to the place in its darkness and ambient light
There were its sounds –

the beating of wings from the shadows of birds

and hum of raindrops,

tiny scraping sounds of peacock butterflies roosting in the silence.
Underfoot creakings and rustlings

Hearing the past

What is under the skin of this place

Where sights and sounds and smells

have become the dust.
The materia prima

In the blade like rays of the sun

Striking the base of the oak posts at the tallow mark *–

Noble superstitions inhabit the place.

A sense of spirits of times long gone.

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Barn Light Painting 001
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“Twas in another lifetime, one of toil and blood.” 

60×40 cm Digital C Kodak Chromira Paper Series of 6                     £150 Framed and Mounted                                                                                                                     Imagining the flow of people, their working lives, revelry and presence.  These 30 second exposure shots of the interior of the barn before renovation are real time images using moving lights within the space.

Elementa is really about roots.

The term derives from alchemy in which there is a desire to find the ‘materia prima’ – the basic materials of living.  It is partially scientific and an indescribable something which transforms the physicality of atoms into art.
In alchemy there was the search for the Philosopher’s Stone – the Salvation- even the Saviour.

For me as an artist this is in painting.

Painting has been described as alchemy.

The mix of oil and stone, wax, pigment and pitch.

And in modern times the invention of the camera in all its forms

I work with materials
I am interested in their aesthetic and symbolic qualities

This is to do with time, presence and absence. I use the photograph to represent time. In a sense a photograph is a slice of the universe at a specific moment in time. A photograph represents what is before the operator and the lens, through a mechanism the image is compressed. In painting the image is formed over a long period of time and is therefore expansive.

I like to play with the gap between the forms so that image and memory, photography and painting, sculpture and film come together in a relationship with

Incidentally, the story of the image goes back to the allegory of painting where the daughter of a Corinthian potter traced the outline of her lover’s shadow on the wall so that she could remember his form when he went to war – and maybe not return. It becomes a token or a fetish an emblem of love and death and hope and loss. All images have this power even the snapshot on facebook.


Jean-Baptiste Regnault

The Origin Of Painting

Oil on canvas
140 x 120 cm (4′ 7.12″ x 3′ 11.24″)
Musee National du Chateau , Versailles, France