Gathering Dust/New York

I have been busy the past few months (hence the lack of posts, sorry) working hard on the series of drawings for next years show at the Oriental Museum at Durham University. The piece has now become “Mountains of the Moon”, drawings made using traditional Chinese materials of the 230 mountains of the English Lake District. They are loosely based upon Wainwright’s illustrations for his “Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells” drawn as if transmitted form the Moon using the technology used by early Soviet space probes.

To see the results you will have to wait until next year! They will be accompanied by two handmade books of drawings and “Roads Unfurling”, my research books made into scrolls. Meanwhile here are some ┬áimages from the mid-1960′s transmitted from the Moon’s surface by Soviet lunar-landers. They are grainy images, disrupted by broken signals and incredibly lonely. The landers are still there of course, gathering space dust.

I have also been preparing “Dust and Shadows – sixty four extinctions” for an exhibition called “Swept Away, dirt, dust and ashes in contemporary art” at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York in February next year. The show will include around twenty artists who use dirt as their main material.

Although I have spent a lot of time in the studio I have also been out an about and seen some great things. I enjoyed Mystics or Rationalists at the Ingleby Gallery in Edinburgh, especially Katie Paterson’s musings on moonlight and the size of the universe; Hiroshi Sugimoto’s beautiful reprints of Fox-Talbot’s earliest photographs at the Museum of Modern Art, also in Edinburgh; Sian Bowen’s ghostly dust drawings and videos of ice flows seen in a Claude glass shown at Wallington Hall in Northumberland (I’ve also enjoyed reading her blog about her residency at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam); a nice selection of Richard Long’s work at Abbot’s Hall Gallery in Kendal, Cumbria; the magical Arts and Crafts house called Blackwell on Lake Windermere; the Turner Prize at the Baltic, especially Hilary Lloyd’s high tech equipment and underwhelming images (although I think Martin Boyce will win); and last weekends Lumiere light festival in Durham, which was spectacular as much for the huge crowds as for the installations – I liked the cathedral interior by French team Compagnie Carabosse and Dominik Legman’s “60 Second Cathedral” projection of sky divers.

Finally, in the studio this week I have been finishing “Gathering dust”, a piece painted in grey ashes on rusted steel of the 90 different moth species trapped in my garden since 2007. It is a companion piece for “Gathering Shadows” and I have already shown a smoke and paper version at the Water Street Gallery exhibition, Icons.