Being a regular walker with a four legged critter provides time for reflection.  It’s also the hunting ground for a little organic object that’s intriguing … the oak gall.  An acorn which has had a visitor. A gall fly/wasp invades the acorn for larval development .. a pretty one-sided visit it seems; safe harbour, food and then the off-spring leave what is now a totally abstract form, looking nothing like the acorn the wasp fly entered.  This small little object carries the weight of history upon its abstract shoulders as Iron gall ink was made from it – the go-to ink for writing and drawing in Europe from about the 5th to 19th century. This has science, art, nature, history and culture nicely wrapped – in a nutshell. A total life drama unfolds.  To me it represents themes of time, birth, death and resurrection, parasitic invasion, invention but, conversely, the loss of indexical signs, in the form of hand writing, that links it to the maker/creator in a rapid world of technology with speed tapping on screens. A huge source for inspiration.

 

I am using this gall as a starting point in a work – initially, monumentalising it, focussing on the tension between the figurative and abstract, and harnessing its parasitic qualities.  My intention is to work in multiples, reflecting the reproductive life cycle of the gall wasp in its Airbnb approach to life and reflecting the changing patterns of human migration.  So, work in progress.

An article in Thursday’s Evening Standard included the following words of wisdom from Gavin Turk:

“Looking and learning leads you on to more looking and learning.  It’s an effervescent process.  Art is a dialogue, it’s a discourse: when someone says something, it means someone else can say something else, and their work can change and shift”.

Hopefully I am having an interesting dialogue with a deformed acorn however, human input would be good too!