Culture Colony Vision's picture

You note that isolation is likely to be voluntary state of affairs for artists. I think that’s right but I have always been able to access a more convivial world when I wanted to. This might not be so easy in the present crisis but nevertheless, for the time being the national situation seems a rather distant emergency with little visible sickness and a rather vague set of government bulletins on how to behave. It might be different if I was on a cruise ship, or stranded with all the usual routes for getting away closed to me. I would no doubt feel differently and the phony war mentality would suddenly become more alarming. For the moment I limit my shopping trips and go through all the routines of washing and wiping down afterwards while wondering whether it has much effect. Nevertheless I’ve stopped going to the swimming pool, which otherwise I would be doing three times a week so now I go on longer bike rides instead, which in fact I enjoy more. I’m looking forward to going out in my boat, which at the moment I’m having to bail out every couple of days because of the biblical deluge, but when the tides are right and the weather favourable I will board ‘SPOT’ and set off. No one on the river these days, so that's safe enough.


Indoors, I’ve been clearing-out my studio in preparation for some fairly major repairs, but because of the weather my builders have been delayed and now with the possible interventions of the virus I’m wondering if the whole project will not be put on hold more permanently. Still, it’s good to have made the decisions to discard the residue of the last thirty years practice and the trips to the dump seems like a safe and satisfying exercise. It’s outdoor work and can be done without any assistance or contact with anyone else. But maybe that’s my phony war again and probably the dump is as awash with Covid 19 as any supermarket I might visit. Recently, I’ve been making trips to scrap-metal silos where I’ve been jettisoning the corrugated sections of my installation ‘Gone skiing’ (first seen at Ffotogallery 1992 and then at the Mostyn, the Riverfront Newport and finally Peninsula Arts at Plymouth in 2013). For anyone interested, ‘Gone skiing’ (R.I.P) rests, along with other evidence of my practice, at Monmouth Council’s Five Lanes Quarry Recycling Plant, Caldicot.

I’m otherwise busy with a drawing project that follows on from the 2019 Llanwrst Eisteddfod. These are sketched at song recitals at different concert halls: St David’s and Dora Stoutzker in Cardiff and Wigmore Hall and St John’s Smith Square in London, amongst others. Although these drawings were made during recitals of some fairly hefty classical performers, the protagonists might find it hard determining who is who and where, in the picture, the piano might be. Pressing on, nevertheless, I’ve found George Stubbs’ paintings of thoroughbred racehorses with their jockeys, grooms and trainers to be instructive here. I know its a bit of a leap to exchange Stubbs’ glorious Gimcrack and Molly Long-legs with my uncertain Steinways and Yamahas each accompanied with respective jockeys, soloists, stable boys and page turners but …

Otherwise I have started a series at Tintern called ‘Farm on a Flood-plane’ but where I was working was beneath three feet of water last week, so while global warming inspires the initiative it has also put a stop to the actual practice. This might be a job for SPOT to get me there in future. Meanwhile back to washing hands.

Images - Gone Skiing Riverfront Newport 2010 and Studio shot: ‘Schumann on Steinway at St David’s Hall with accompanist and soprano up’. Work in progress.