Death Series, 2020. Charcoal on paper.
It is as if death is only the beginning. This is where it starts, I now understand. And from this appallingly beautiful tragedy comes new life, always. Immersed in nature, each and every moment brings with it knowledge, a deeper understanding, I am – we are all ‘nature’, a collective. Absorbing information by observing my immediate natural environment, I notice. Closely witnessing the vital changes in state and season, the environmental consequences of our thoughtless actions, and the evident effects on this micro ecosystem. Recording droughts, forest fire and flood rainwater seems to have become a way of understanding why, and how and we desperately need this reminder. This place I inhabit, alongside and as the tree, the bird, the ant. We are inseparable, to each other’s survival. With this in mind, I set myself a goal. To pay some kind of homage to these creatures. Detailed, observational studies of natural forms that have ‘served their purpose’ in life culminated in this ‘Death Series’. Each day a wander through the forest, valley and garden in search of something no longer living led to discoveries of skulls, courgette flowers, jaw bones, composting leaves, fallen fruit… which are then observed and recorded using charcoal as material, which shares the same dead state as its subjects. In the summer of 2019 a catastrophic forest fire destroyed a record number of olive, pine and almond hectares in this region. With a now seemingly unlimited source of charcoal I continue to record the beginning of the process. Such beauty lies therein. Regrowth, reproduction, regeneration and restoration.