I mentioned Lawrence Carroll a few days back. And now I just took delivery of this very handsome monograph. Whenever people tell you, as they get older, that they have no regrets don’t believe them. Ok if you’ve lived a bit they may be modest ones but there will be some things that could have, may be should have, happened.
Around about the late 1970’s my work seemed to me to be complicating itself to the point where I needed to step back and rethink. Over a year and a bit (from late 79 through 80) some very minimal pieces were made that – I hoped – had a certain ‘quiet authority’ and communicated through their simple presence in the world. Only one or two were ever exhibited (in group shows) and I never had a chance to see them in a decent space where their cumulative impact might have been greater.
They were large works, with minimal titles too. Made on big sheets of paper I backed them with glass fibre resin. Over the year the use of this, naturally with scant regard to health and safety back then, resulted in some extremely deleterious health issues. Coupled with a change of circumstances (work, home and studio) my dissatisfaction with this work led to an abandonment. When I settled into my new circumstances months later I began re-complicating my work and over several years this accelerated, culminating in a brief period of figuration in the mid-eighties (I wasn’t alone in this). Over the subsequent thirty plus years a certain seesawing between a more minimalist position and a complexity in my work has continued to this day…though I’ve rarely gone as far out as the 1980 works. One regret I have is that I never got a chance to see more of Carroll’s work. My other regret is that I’ve not been a wee bit more disciplined and plotted a more steady course over the years. Whether this would have produced better work, or I would have been happier who can say?
In any event activity continues…Rock Of Ages, the third (and final) part of my Landscape & Memory project is slowly drawing to a close. With three of the 18 that make up this section completed over the past couple days, only 11 to go now.