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Retaining Not Knowing: Work in progress and work yet to be made


A group of three modroc rocks. The face of the largest is shaped like a tarot card. There is a hole in the surface out of which grey plaster forms appear to have tumbled.


I struggle to articulate these rocks, what it means for them to be almost theatrical, like stage props for a community production. However, I have felt the need to work with my hands, to turn away from the digital, and be more physically present with and in my work. On the surface of the rocks, you can almost see where my hands have been, where the grey plaster has been wiped across before setting.

The largest of the rocks is shaped in a particular way, an echo of blank tarot cards in another piece of work. Tarot, a form of divination. In the film the blank cards are being dealt and turned over. Outwardly, or perhaps at first glance, the cards appear to tell you nothing. In the case of this rock, I also think of blank stone tablets waiting for language to be inscribed upon them.

The forms that tumble from this rock are a borrowed shape. Durer’s solid as depicted in an etching titled Melancholia 1 from 1514. This form was gifted to me by my crit group. We had been talking about mysterious or unknowable shapes. The image is full of symbolism, but the story of the rock is still uncertain.

There are theories that Durer’s choice of angles is linked to calcite crystal formation. Only any recorded mathematical study of crystals didn’t start until well after Durer’s death, so this is contested. The forms have an odd way of appearing different, varied, but in reality, they are all from the same mould. The best of these forms are streaked with black, like striations. 

I keep mulling over at what point geology entered my practice. A flint, a silhouette of a rock, a rocky outcrop on a hill? My work has taken a turn towards the occult which I am wary of and I feel myself drawn to the permanence of stone as a way of grounding. Of situating myself in the in between, between Charles Kingsley’s inductive reasoning and something more allusive or permanently not knowable.



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