March 2012: two (very different) projects 1st March 2012

It’s been an absolute age since I wrote here. The bradford pear in the yard has burst into clouds of white blossom and today is a clear bright still day sandwiched between severe weather warnings, which means spring is definitely springing and several projects *still* need to be documented from 2011. They will have to wait.

Here’s what I’ve got going on…

(1) Nobody’s Nothing

This week I’m busy working on installing a piece at twist etc. in the Arcade in downtown Nashville.

The concept for this work has been brewing for several months and it feels great to finally be getting it out of my head and onto the walls. I love installation work – having a complete room as a canvas is a very different experience to working on individual pieces. There’s something liberating about creating something that will be dismantled and painted over. It’s also a good opportunity to let planning ahead mix with on-site spontaneity and working with the physical advantages or limitations of your environment. The brief window to get it all together is a good exercise in delegating while not driving one’s fellow humans insane – it would be impossible to do this alone.

I couldn’t have asked for a more willing and brilliant team of assistants in Sarah Dark and Beth Gilmore (co-curator at Twist) – as I write this we are about to enter day 3 of 4, and we are on schedule. I anticipated that by this stage I’d be frantic, but I’m not. That may or may not be a good thing. Let’s assume it’s good.

The show opens at the March Art Crawl – Saturday 3rd, from 6-9pm. It runs until the end of the month. The gallery is open Thurs & Fri 11-5, & Saturdays, 11-3.

Here’s the artist statement…

Nobody’s Nothing

Art is an invitation to see, in a world in which we are so often invited, asked, or made not to see.  We are told, and we often believe, that not seeing is vital to our own comfort, identity, and freedom.  This work asks if this is true.

The installation emerged from, and reflects, my unease as someone for whom others are detained.  The word “detention” is about restraint, but the fact of detention is also about removing people and their circumstances even from view so that they do not detain us.  The installation seeks to respond to a particular kind of indefinite detention, but the invisible and forgotten are also in our midst, isolated by their lack of place in our imaginations.

The title of this work refers to a line from Morrisey’s 1994 track, “Lifeguard Sleeping, Girl Drowning”:

Please don’t worry
There’ll be no fuss
She was nobody’s nothing.

Standing alone as a sentence, the two words of the title also express a haunted statement of faith.  The work’s provocation is the fact of human dignity.


I snapped this shot of work-in-progress when David Dark dropped by for lunch and briefly made his mark. That’s Sarah on the left. More photos will follow after the launch. To see the rest of the room, you’ll have to drop by. This is a conceptual rather than commercial work, so once it’s gone, it’s gone. (There’s an update here, with more photos.)

Sarah & David Dark installating their mark


It was a great privilege and another exciting opportunity to be invited by curator Dave Perkins to produce something for the CREATURE show currently on at the Vanderbilt Divinity School (details in the poster; click to embiggen) The show runs until mid-April, if memory serves correct.


The brief to the artists was a call for a “whimsical menagerie” and they certainly got it. It’s a very quirky collection of diverse pieces. I was delighted to meet a colleague of Joel’s, Samuel Dunson, from TSU at the launch event and his sculptural offering, Spirit Guide, thrilled me to no end.

Here’s a shot of my own piece in situ. The source images were taken with the help of Jayne McConkey, while she was visiting us over the holidays. The model is our devilishly handsome and exasperating lovable cat, Copperfield. The title is a line from T.S. Eliot’s poem, The Naming of Cats in his 1930 collection, Old Possum’s Book Of Practical Cats.

His Ineffable Effable (2012); Composite digital photo on 4ft by 4ft canvas (original; 1/1); Price available on request.

Happy Spring,


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