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Clouds in Progress

We tend to think about clouds in terms of ephemerality and incorporeality; they morph and mutate before our eyes, a constant reminder of change, of rhythm and the rolling on of time, so in drawing there is a comfortable parallel with a depiction of the passage of time; however I am also interested in the monumental quality of clouds, and drawing’s ability to capture and solidify a moment which would otherwise pass or evaporate away. 

I have been drawing clouds for over ten years and have oscillated from an idyll of fluffy cumulus replete with playful pastels, to the brooding monumentality of cumulonimbus, through clouds of steam emanating from the earth itself, or careering through the mushroom cloud, the cloud of disaster, and the settling clouds of ash. There is no sequential order to the cloud series, and indeed they seem to come out of nowhere.

I draw empty spaces, devoid of people mostly or empty chairs or monuments that speak about people but do not depict them and clouds have run alongside all of these depictions often finding their way into compositions when I am at a loss as to what shape to use next, or how to evoke a mood in the right way, I can revisit them and somehow I feel I am on more steady ground.

The sources I use are diverse, from social media to art history, from the intimate, scrawling line of AA Milne, and Van Gogh, to the hauntingly beautiful chalk drawings of Tacita Dean and finally to my own vision of the sky as it changes out of the windows of my home. 

Clouds are and will continue to be a work in progress for me; they accompany and inform the work I make about monumentality, and the fallacy of permanence that pervades human nature. They are an index of our existence here on the planet, emanating from a steam train, from a cooling tower, from the grates of the New York subway, from the burning roof of Notre Dame.  They are constant in their insistence that life is about change, that it does not stand still, and that there are no invincible empires, no eternal cities, no indelible marks on the page.