Around 1995 the focus of my work shifted from still-life to landscape. Between 1998 and 2006 most of the drawings were concerned with investigating particular landscape sites – usually places I actually visited, but occasionally places I visited only in my imagination. I’ve listed the examples partly under geographical headings and partly thematically.
In the Autumn of 2001 I presented an exhibition at Dorset County Museum, Dorchester, entitled Dorset Fragments. The text I wrote for the catalogue gives an indication of my thinking at the time:
Most of the works included in this exhibition involve a combination of drawing, painting and textual elements within a pictorial field, referring to direct and remembered experience of specific places and journeys in Dorset – a Dorset Index. They are records of awareness, insight and contemplation transposed into a visual poetics of place.
The exploration of landscape, of being in a place, and how the experience of landscape continues in the mind long after the direct contact – these are an important part of the subject matter. Memories and meditations on the meaning of a place or event are interwoven with direct visual representations of fragments of landscape. Walks are suggested. Stones picked up along a path are pictured alongside images of trees, buildings and larger panoramas. And these in turn are overlaid with linear forms and signs that suggest contours, tracks, boundaries or horizons. References are made to history and prehistory (plans of settlements, drawings of sites and ruins) and to scientific enquiry (botanical details, skeletal structures and geological forms). They look somewhat like old maps and charts with vignettes, diagrams and notes. A few of the drawings are of objects in the Museum collections.
Underlying my work is a belief in the arts as modes of being, knowing and doing on a par with the sciences and humanities, and I hope that this exhibition demonstrates some interesting connections between art, natural history and archaeology.
Many of the works are reminiscent of 18th Century topographical drawings and 19th Century landscape photography, but translated into a form that has meaning in the 21st Century. I hope they convey something of the distinctiveness of Dorset and that they suggest what it is like to be at particular sites, to travel from place to place and to read the ancient and present narratives of the land.