The works on these pages are inspired by journeys: the journeys of people, animals and spirits.
Living in Los Angeles from 2004 to 2011, I was captured by the voyage undertaken by migrant labourers as they followed the seasons and the harvests, moving across borders and up the coast, then south again, stooped figures in the fields echoing both the journeys of the missionaries who came to tame the West, and the migrants fleeing the poverty of the dustbowl in the 1930s. Then, in the summer of 2010, I realised there was another echo, another group of migrants travelling unnoticed, following the coast northwards from southern Mexico, cleaving to the coastline of the Pacific northwest before returning with the change of seasons to make the journey south. These were Vaux swifts, tiny birds, their feet atrophied, who lived their lives in the air, stopping only occasionally to roost. On their way over California one of these roosts was a disused chimney in the middle of downtown Los Angeles, where thousands of birds would swirl at dusk, forming a vortex before plunging into the chimney. These movements led to two series of drawings: The Rally and The Plunge. The image of this swarm of birds plummeting down the coast, sweeping over California, eventually led to a further drawing, El Buen Vencejo. I am currently working on a companion piece showing the path of migrant labourers across the same area.
When I returned to England the following year, I found myself living on the side of a hill. At the top of the hill was a copse with the unlikely name of Purgatory. It is the only place with that name in England. Half a dozen miles away is another place with an unlikely name: Paradise, a hamlet. The journey between the two, in myth and reality, led to another series of drawings, another journey, From Purgatory to Paradise.
Born in Manchester
BA Fine Art, Goldsmiths College, London, 1987-90
MA Anthropology of Media, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 1999-2001
Live and work in Stroud, Gloucestershire
Recent solo exhibitions include:
From Purgatory to Paradise: Nude in Road, INDEX Gallery, Stroud, 2014
From Purgatory to Paradise: an Indulgence, Brunel Goods Shed, Site Festival, Stroud, 2013
Conquistador, Steve Turner Contemporary, Los Angeles, California, 2011