In the beginning there were figures and figures, almost fifteen years of them, fifteen years of bank statements; to say nothing of the ancillary documents that accompany a commercial business. After a time these had no real value, especially when the business was no more. It could have been very easy to discard them but not when there is a strong emotional attachment to them. Not an attachment to the figures as such, but the to business they represented, not even to the business itself, but the fact it was a means of staying alive, a way of life, a self-defining quality of life.
It must be understood that in 1993, when I was searching for a way back into art activity, anything that mattered to me was valid as a starting point. As is seen in the first work of this period, 'Number 5 Surrounded by his Associates', I chose counting numbers as a starting point. At Loughborough College of Art, I pulped effectively all the documents I'd accrued during these fifteen years and produced a number of thick, handmade paper tablets. Nine of these were embossed with a numeral in a large 'Baskerville' typeface, thus rendering each tablet its singular identity, despite containing the same source material. The result is rather like filing a jumble of information in nine separate containers and then labelling them randomly, only in this case the particular information will never be reassembled, only its having existed at all is of value. It would have been a waste of resources not to have materialised this fifteen year experience one way or another. Whatever work processes the tablets went through, during the eight years of their subsequent development, is made evident in the appearance of the work. It is the relationship between the content and the discontinuity of its surface that creates its 'raison d'être'.
Once again, the nine-square format is in use, both in the appearance of each tablet as well as that of the overall composition. The number '9' having no value in the process of reducing a string of numbers to to a single unit is reason enough for the figure '9' to hold the centre of the composition. Another numeral shares the same space with the number to which it is added to make the value 'nine' and thus reduce itself to no value, in much the same way as those figures embedded in the paper tablets are reduced to no value. It is this interaction between figurative content and substance that gives the piece its title.
Mixed media : Handmade paper, Plaster, Litho inks, Oil on canvas on board with fine steel mesh