The collapse of insect life in Britain is obvious (to anyone who looks) – moths, butterflies, bees, even the plumes of midges collecting around ponds on summer evenings are becoming a memory. Living rurally surrounded by fields I have watched the dramatic decline of insects in our garden over the years despite our attempts to counteract it. Many people visiting the countryside see green fields and think of nature but industrial agriculture with its use of pesticides and fertilisers has created a bleak monoculture.
This work features some of the Devon moths identified as being of conservation significance. These are not part of the long list of rare, scarce or declining moths in Devon but rather a few of those species for which the county has a particular conservation responsibility, to ensure they retain healthy, viable populations in Britain. These are the species upon which conservation work should focus.
The stained glass-style of the work was inspired by the beautiful windows depicting nature in the dining hall of the castle on St Michaels Mount in Cornwall. The design of the ‘leading’ is based on microscopic images of moth scales.
Watercolour (moths) and screenprint (‘leading’) on watercolour board.
Beautiful Gothic (Leucochlaena oditis)
Goat Moth (Cossus cossus)
Scarce Blackneck (Lygephila craccae)
Scarce Merveille (Moma alpium)
Beautiful Brocade (Lacanobia contigua)
This work was inspired by marine coral ecosystems. As coral skeletons crumble in the aftermath of mass mortality due to warming seas, acidity and pollution, habitable space for fish, invertebrates and hosts of others dwindles. The reefs are haemorrhaging life, and, as they empty, their colour and ability to support human needs and livelihoods is lost.
Cartridge paper, Japanese Kozuke paper and plant-based wax
Drawings of plankton which can be found off the coast of the southwest of England. These drawings were later reproduced in wax on Japanese paper for the work entitled 'Bleached'.
Charcoal on paper.
Echinospira larva, Lamellaria perspicua
Fragile-approach with care, 2015
Symbiotic relationships where cells or organisms interact to mutual benefit persist throughout the branches of evolution. This piece of work is an abstract interpretation of such a relationship. It is loosely based on the ecosystem around coral, a colonial animal that relies heavily on its relationship with single celled algae called zooxanthellae. The algae provide food to the coral through photosynthesis whilst the carbon dioxide needed for photosynthesis is generated by the coral when it lays down its limestone skeleton which protects both animal and algae. The coral polyps are transparent but the algae give them their glorious colours. The coral, the surrounding plankton upon which it relies, and the marine ecosystem are heavily under threat from warming seas, acidity and pollution.
The folding form emulates the structures found in biological systems from the microscopic level of the cell to coral reefs and beyond where interconnectivity and exchange are common and crucial. The images are caught within the layers as if trapped on a microscope slide.
Japanese Kozuke paper, watercolour, water-based inks, soy wax. 1000 x 850 x up to 2000 mm
This is a series of photographs, paintings and prints based on the old runways and control tower of a World War II aerodrome near Upottery in East Devon. No longer in use as an airfield, nature is encroaching and its falling into disrepair. I have tried to capture the atmosphere and memories held there.
Marine and microscopic, 2014
A series of prints and paintings exploring the impact of plastics and pollution on the sea together with drawings and prints based on microscopic organisms and cell structures.
Ex-utero is a series of watercolour paintings exploring the ageing process through the reproductive system of a woman from the height of her fertility to its demise.
Continuing with a looser, more abstract approach to life drawing.