- STEVEN GEDDES (b.1967)
I incorporate a wide range of materials in my practice, the generative potential of materiality itself has been a guiding principle from the beginning of my career. Initially training in ‘surface detail’ at The London College of Fashion, I was able to experience and explore a very direct engagement with making – a hands-on questioning of the tactile, textural, sensuous formal and expressive possibilities of textile as medium. The rich language of the long history of textile opened up endlessly fertile ground for bringing visual ideas from across place, time and cultures into relation with our own time and place.
Encountering the work of the ceramicist Colin Pearson, I was then seduced by the beauty and possibility of porcelain. I embarked on an apprenticeship with Colin. Like textile, porcelain is one of the oldest material in the history of making and so, similarly carries a strongly evocative freight of meanings and associations. I quickly took free-rein with the heritage of language and generated compelling and potent reformations. Hand- thrown vessels harking back to Japanese ceramics are shifted into playful and often unsettling or dissonant territory with the injection of a very contemporary heat and dynamic.
More recently I have become enamoured by ink on paper. Again, a medium that has a long and rich history. Having extensively explored opening up spaces for unexpected collision, disruption and recombinations, ink and paper allows for the unfolding of new paths. Importantly there is the collapsing down of the figure/ground relation: the ways in which ink can be made to penetrate and travel through the fibre and texture of the paper, traversing the plane/surface but also sinking into it’s fabric. The ink is transmitted across the surface and the paper reasserts to create space, blockage, rupture, silences in the flow. Inks fluidity makes it a highly responsive medium, a very direct ‘carrier’ of energy that requires a sensitivity of manipulation – rhythms and dynamics yielded through a sensitised engagement in relation to it’s inherent properties rather than through over-control or mastery.
I play out again and again in an open-ended series of drawings a traversal of the paper by the flow of the ink. The traversal, from one side of the page to the other, from left to right, in itself carries freight that I take advantage of and play with, ideas associated with passage, with textuality, with writings and readings, oscillations, notation, code, transmission, seismic tremors, stammers, stutters, ruptures and flow, signalling of all sorts, all playing out in spaces that slip between landscape and text. The rhythmic spectrum of ink, of water, across the plane of the paper carries the potential of transmissions of anxiety and grace, blockage and flow, communications and silences which I am fully engaged with at the present.
‘TRANSITIONS’ States of Change
This body of work has been created in a world of constant change with the mass migration of people to safer lives and the redefining of borders. Flight addresses this with its contained winged vessels in an Ash frame with a singular vessel free of confinement. The migration of birds or of people to better lives has happened since time immemorial and the change that occurs due to this movement on the environment has had a great influence on my work. Whether the tracks of ink across the paper in ‘Sisyphus’ or the tracks of mass migration of humans or animals on a landscape. Each piece of work has some direct relationship to energy and the transference of energy by movement. My main research comes from the internet and from the classics using a fusion of mythology and reality. The ‘Pot Divided’ series is formed from the creation of a large wide vessel which is then violently pierced by a pin. Sections are taken from the main body then draped and sculpted, shaped into porcelain sketch lines enabling me to reconstruct or reconfigure into an abstract script, an unknown language. Creation and destruction in order to reconfigure has become a form of metaphor for war in my recent work.