Born in Liverpool, studio in London, currently Visiting Professor, Tainan National University of the Arts
Tainan National University of the Arts
66 Daci Village
1998 – 2003
PhD Fine Art by Theory and Practice; The Investigation of the Museum as a Site of Control, Memory and Loss by Expression in Installation and Sculptural Form, Nottingham Trent University, UK. Awarded January 2004
1993 – 1994
M.A. Sculpture, Winchester School of Art, UK
1973 – 1976
B.A. (hons) Fine Art, Lanchester Polytechnic, Coventry, UK
1972 – 1973
Foundation Course, Liverpool Polytechnic, UK
Skills, overview of practice and theory, research direction
As an artist, lecturer, technician and researcher I have gained and honed a number of practical skills, and these are interwoven with the theoretical directions of my research. My initial practice was based on painting, specifically within the language of political art and the concept of painting as a vehicle for multiple meaning. This led to the production of large scale triptychs, and the site-specific nature of these works developed into the installation work I have been pursuing since 1994.
The focus of my research and work between 1998 and 2003 was the relationship of installation theory and practice to museums, specifically museums of science and natural history. The contention was that museums can be regarded as installations, that is as works of imagination. This enables such objective institutions to be interrogated for their connections to themes of memory, loss, and melancholy. The research drew on a wide field of reference, beginning with the critique of the museum as institution and ending with the ruin of the museum as a cultural and personal metaphor.
A central focus of my exhibition research was, and remains, installation. Installation covers a variety of practices and techniques, but at the heart is the relationship of artwork, space and viewer. The artist has to be involved in how the work interacts with the space of display, and with how viewers will encounter the work. This latter provides the means whereby the work can produce a number of narratives for the viewer, either architecturally or by encountering a series of objects within a specific place.
The work since 2003 develops the above central ideas and draws on both the history and philosophy of the natural sciences, museums and scientific institutions, and on how history leaves traces that can be discerned in multiple contexts. These themes are addressed via installations within which are placed optical ‘devices’ of lenses, mirrors, and lights with integral video and photographic slides. Since 2007 my research has also focussed on a questioning stance towards the European ‘objective’ perspective together with the research interests outlined above.
I have worked in different roles in museums and galleries (from the contemporary art spaces of the Bluecoat and Arnolfini to the traditional museum space of the Liverpool Museums), and this has provided me with a practical and theoretical understanding of the functioning of these institutions. The techniques associated with museum and gallery display and storage have been incorporated in the work, and the encounter with the changes in perceived importance of objects as they move within the spaces of the museum fed into the subsequent PhD research.
The relationship of practice and theory in my work is one characterised by the interweaving of both. The theoretical research draws on a wide range of texts, from cultural theory to history, philosophy and fiction, and this enables a connectivity of concepts (texts that range from Inside the White Cube to The Time Machine). These form the intellectual ‘atmosphere’ in which the practical work takes place, thus mitigating against the problem of the practice becoming an illustration of a set theoretical stance. This is also crucial as the work involves an element of experimentation, the searching towards a visual correspondence with the subjective emotions engendered by the ideas.
My practical skills involve an understanding of how to construct objects and spaces in a variety of materials, how to install work and how to construct the furniture used in traditional museum display. I use materials for practical as well as aesthetic reasons, and regard the everyday fixings and fittings of the installations as imbued with an aesthetic value. This follows from an understanding from the research concerning the manner in which the white cube of the gallery space transforms objects into art. I am skilled in the use of the various tools used in woodwork and construction.
I use video and Final Cut Pro to produce the video that is an element in the work, and between 2008 and 2010 filmed the programme of live art and performance at Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol UK. This additionally provided the opportunity to continue with my engagement with this strand of practice, something that had assumed prominence during my research and work in Nottingham Trent University.
I have been involved in setting up exhibitions in non-gallery spaces in Liverpool, Nottingham and London in the UK, a way of working that continues to inform my practice and teaching.
I am currently a full-time Visiting Professor at Tainan National University of the Arts, teaching on the Graduate programme, and since March 2013 also on the PhD in Art Creation and Theory. The courses I offer cover installation practice and theory, and examine a wide range of interdisciplinary methodologies.
Current research is focussed on two main areas, one the continuation of the concepts outlined above, the second based on the experiences and research undertaken during the two residencies in Taipei. The studio work is concentrating on developing further optical/sculptural devices, while reviewing and editing video material and beginning to expand the writing produced during the residencies. In future it is the intention to develop both written and performance material for use with the installations, specifically with the concept of the lecture as performance. The optical devices would be part of this work, to be presented as actual performance and video record.
08/2012 – 07/2013
Graduate Institute of Plastic Arts, Tainan National University of the Arts, Taiwan
Visiting Professor (Full-time)
Kun Shan University, Taiwan
Taipei National University of the Arts, Taipei, Taiwan.
Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan.
2005 - 2006
York St John University, B.A. Fine Art, York, UK.
University of Lincoln, B.A. Fine Art, Lincoln, UK.
2003 - 2005
Nottingham Trent University, Department of Humanities: B.A. Heritage and Museum Studies, Nottingham, UK.
Staffordshire University, B.A. Fine Art, Stafford, UK.
Nottingham Trent University B.A. Fine Art and International Programme, Nottingham, UK.
1999 - 2000
Derby University M.A. Narrative Writing, Derby, UK.
Selected solo exhibitions
Study Void, Ox Warehouse, Macau
The Problem of Knowledge 2, Residency Exhibition, Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei National University of the Arts, Taiwan.
Institute; Plan 9, Bristol, UK. Supported by Arts Council England.
Through a Glass Uncertainly; solo exhibition,The Gallery, Dartington College of Arts. UK
A Sense of Wonder and the Problem of Knowledge; solo exhibition, Ginza Art Lab, Tokyo and Koiwa Project Space, Tokyo, Japan. With support from British Council
Mnemosyne; solo exhibition, Derby Museum and Art Gallery, UK
Supported by Arts Council England.
The Archive of Lost Knowledge; solo exhibition, Wollaton Hall Natural History Museum, Nottingham. UK
Funded by Nottingham Trent University
Muse; solo exhibition, Gibson’s Windows, Derby Museum, Derby. UK. Commissioned by RAID
ordinary facts arranged within time; solo exhibition, Bonington Gallery, Nottingham. UK
Lost/Found; solo exhibition, commissioned by The Glass Box Gallery, Salford. UK
Traces; solo exhibition, commissioned by South Trafford College, Altrincham, Manchester. UK
Selected Group Exhibitions and projects:
10 x 10, Taipei Artist Village, Taiwan
Visual Presentation at Nature Behind Glass: theoretical perspectives on natural history collections, Manchester University, Manchester, UK
Max 5; Café Gallery, London, UK
Group video exhibition
Staffordshire Cabinet; Commissioned by Public Arts Staffordshire to tour to non-gallery venues.
Airborne System Mode; group exhibition, The Ox Warehouse, Macau.
The Box Project. Commissioned by Angel Row Gallery for Museum of Installation group exhibition (touring).
Brief Encounter; group exhibition by invitation, Melbourne, Australia.
Drawing; Two person exhibition, Djanogly Showcase, Nottingham Trent University. UK
Nottingham Trent University Research group exhibition; Boots D90 Building, Nottingham. UK
Curator, Arena Studios Group Exhibition, Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool. UK
It Was Thirty Years Ago Today; group exhibition curated by Bryan Biggs, Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool. UK
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; commissioned by Adrian Henri for The Doctor Duncan Show, Museum of Liverpool Life, Liverpool. UK
Keeper; commissioned work for Ikon Gallery Touring Programme, West Midlands. UK
Group Exhibition; M.REAM, Melbourne, Australia.
Dislocate; in On Stream;group exhibition by invitation, Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool. UK
23 August 1994; part of group exhibition, Skillion Warehouse, Liverpool. UK
Atavistic Longings; part of group exhibition, Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool. UK
Found Out; group exhibition, Winchester Gallery, Winchester. UK
Interregnum; part of MA exhibition, Winchester School of Art. UK
My Subject is War: Williamson Art Gallery, Birkenhead, UK
Visionfest; Various non gallery venues throughout Liverpool, UK
Arts Council England Production Award
British Council Award
Arts Council England Production Award
Winchester School of Art/Council Travel Award for outstanding achievement
North West Arts Margaret Wethered Travel Award (Berlin)
Taipei Artists Village, Taipei, Taiwan
Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei National University of the Arts, Taiwan
Koiwa Project Space, Japan
The Ox Warehouse, Macau, China
Anglican Cathedral, Liverpool, UK
Staffordshire Public Art, Staffordshire UK
Radical Arts in Derby, Derby, UK
Salford University, Manchester UK
South Trafford College, Manchester UK
Ikon Gallery, Birmingham UK
03/2011 – 07/2012
08/2005 - 09/2010
06/2004 - 07/2005
04/2002 - 01/2004
09/1998 - 09/2001
07/1998 - 09/2000
06/1995 – 09/1996
09/1996 - 05/2000
10/1995 - 05/1996
10/1986 – 07/1993
Royal Museums Greenwich, London, UK
Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol, UK
Library and Information Service, Nottingham University, Nottingham UK
Bonington Gallery, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK
Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham UK
tate Liverpool, Liverpool UK
National Museums on Merseyside, Liverpool UK
Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool UK
Liverpool City College Adult Education, Liverpool UK
John Lewis, Liverpool UK
Freelance Mural Painter/Technician for various organisations.
Visitor Experience (full-time)
Gallery Assistant (part-time)
Library Support Assistant (part-time)
Exhibition Assistant (part-time)
PhD Research Student
Artist/Educator (freelance contract)
Art Handler (full-time)
Exhibition Technician (free-lance, exhibition related)
Arts Tutor (part-time)
Arts Tutor (part-time)
Employment related training
Visitor Service, Diversity Awareness, Valuing Difference
2005 - 2010
Disability Awareness, Security in the Workplace, Line Management, Fire Safety
2002 - 2005
Scaffold Tower Erection, Manual Handling
Wood workshop machinery safety
Work in numerous private collections, and the Collection of the University of Liverpool