A Moral Compass (2011)

This latest work is a triptych of paintings inspired by the works of Cranach the Elder, a German Renaissance painter whose naive figurative stylings I find particularly appealing. His preoccupation with mythological and religious imagery succinctly demonstrates the power of visual art in times of widespread illiteracy. Cranach was also a friend of Martin Luther (who’s moral outrage at the corrupt Catholic Church led to a new branch of Christianity).

A Moral Compass (triptych)

The paintings are made on a surface of 1980s comics, which may be considered morality tales in themselves. Comics provide simple stories of good versus evil, echoing the framework of the society they represent – Judeao/Christian moral landscape which in many ways remains unchanged since the Renaissance.

Venus (after Cranach)

I have denied the figures their beauty by replacing their heads with skulls. A reminder that all of us are born condemned to die, that corporality is always hiding just beneath our skin. For those who believe in an ‘afterlife’, how we conduct ourselves inside our fleshy vessels impacts greatly on what happens after death.

Antaeus vs Heracles (after Cranach)

I have placed the paintings in frames of my own construction, embedded with other signifiers of childhood moral gameplay; marbles, toy soldiers and cowboys & indians and other drossy ephemera.

Lucretia (after Cranach)

Cranach painted many religious and mythological subjects throughout his career, which I intend to investigate through a series of paintings – of which this is the first – viewing the contemporary world through the moral lens of the 15th Century Master.

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Gordon Moore (2010)

We live in an electronic age, where the microprocessor is ubiquitous. So pervasive is the use of integrated circuitry, that we have become indifferent to the phenomenal computational power surrounding us, and hence blithe to it’s disposability. In the late 60s when semiconductor technology was in its infancy, and the integrated circuit was still a novelty, a young scientist at Caltech, named Gordon Moore made the insight that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit was doubling every 18 months or so. This speculation became known as ‘Moore’s Law’, and has held up surprisingly well, with contemporary CPU chips containing millions upon millions of transistors, and increasing in computational power at an exponential rate.

With such growth comes inevitable redundancy – the state-of-the-art gadget you crave today will be left to gather dust in the back of a drawer in a couple of years time. It’s easy to lose sight of this rate of change, in fact, that we don’t just take it for granted, but actively expect smaller, faster, more feature-filled devices to replace the ones we found miraculous just a few months ago.

4-colour spray stencil on DEC Hi-Note Laptop

Which brings us to this piece – a portrait of Gordon Moore, from the 60s, about the time he first suggested his ‘law’. I have stencilled the portrait onto a 1995 DEC Hi-Note Laptop, which when released was a state-of-the-art device, retailing for £2360 + VAT – and now worth less than the price of a canvas.

I tried to estimate how many (now worthless) transistors this device contains:

  • CPU – 486DX = approx 1 million
  • Screen (800×600, colour) = 800x600x3= 1,440,000
  • RAM (24MB) = 24x1024x1024x8 = 243,793,920
  • Supporting chipset = approx 0.5M

This rough calculation suggests there are nearly 250 million transistors in this device alone. As you can see, the device has an ‘Intel inside’ sticker – After leaving Caltech, Gordon Moore went on to found the Intel Corporation, and now has an estimated personal worth of $3.7B …

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The Fortune Cats (2009)

It’s been rather quiet at shardcore.org recently, because of my involvement in Brighton’s White Night art festival. My long-time collaborator Sam Hewitt and I were commissioned by Brighton & Hove council to create a secret centrepiece to the festival. The theme was ‘fortune’, and we responded by creating two giant robotic Japanese Fortune Cats, who would answer questions live in Jubilee Square.

This turned out to be quite an undertaking, involving participation from twenty one artists, actors and roboticists. I am pleased to say the evening went without major incident, and the cats spoke through the night from 7pm to 1am, imparting words of wisdom to hundreds of visitors.

I’ll be uploading more information on the development of this idea over on thefortunecats.com over the next few weeks, in the meantime here’s a film of the cats in situ.

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The year in review, 2006

There have been twenty nine aesthetic experiments completed since January, mainly, though not exclusively, in the medium of painting. As is to be expected of the experimental method, some have been more successful than others. Overall, however, I feel this years work marks a solid contribution to the field of aesthetic mischief.

The year started with a series of studies of human pathogens. Along the way, there were some scientists and philosophers, a fair few portraits of my reprobate friends, an instructional video and a metaphysical plaything.

Most notably, personally, was the opening, and unfortunate closing of shardcorner
which provided a brief opportunity to subvert the consciousness of complete strangers with my tiny-shop-window-by-the-traffic-lights. A most worthwhile experiment, and one that bears repeating.

2007 will see shardcore exhibiting as an ‘official’ member of Brighton Artists Open Houses in May – expect a frenzy of experimentation in 2007 as I attempt to fill my house to overflowing with arcane exercises in pareidolia.

Summary of analysis, big up to the Max Ernst massive.

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Hexahedron #1 (2006)

Multi-layered cube – digitally printed acetate, acrylic paint 100mm x 100mm x 100mm

“To what extent can truth endure incorporation? That is the question; that is the experiment” – Nietzsche

An executive toy for the modern natural philosopher.

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