INNER LANDSCAPES

February 13, 2016

 

Historically Sculptors used to use wax (cera) to hide flaws in their work.

In Latin, without wax is “sin cera”.

Sincere.

 

If nothing else the folIowing is this.

 

I sculpt in stone to create marks as I journey through the landscape of my life.

 

“Jonathan Loxley was here”

 

I could leave these as concepts in my head but realising them in stone gives them life.

 

Sometimes you don’t know you love someone until you tell them.

 

I have time to visit these marks and as time passes they may change, become more profound, or they may fade a little in the light of the Sun.

 

Because I was led to them by instinct, because they have some truth in them, a constant indestructible truth.

 

It is not pretending to be a religion. It is a faith. It is a faith only because I trust it.

It is sometimes fleeting and elusive so when I am weary, when my spirit is dulled and my hands are numb, I cannot feel to grasp it.

 

A while ago I was working outside of my studio, which borders a forest. My arms were tired so I put my hammer down and turned to see a Stag staring at me from the treeline.

I don’t know how long it had been there.

Perhaps it was always there and still is.

 

 

It’s not my choice to enter this place and I never know when I have been invited.

 

I like to think it is when I am happy, is full but I have no evidence.

Because thought doesn’t exist there

Only the hands of an invisible love.

 

 

The landscape can be rugged and may demand a hardness of mind to travel through it.

This life.

Then there are no more Stags behind me and I am blind to the Sun behind the clouds and other travellers too.

Fingers numb again.

 

I feel abandoned but know I am not.

Just lost.

Lost the trail.

Walking until the landscape changes again, in fear that I might stop completely.

 

Maybe just a pond with a tiny frog in it.

Maybe a pinecone dropping with a thud and rolling past me.

 

later I may see one of the marks I have made.

Standing, staring back at me.

 

I carved it but it carves me.

 

I made it, but it wasn’t exactly my design.

I didn’t steal it either.

The true artist remains anonymous.

 

 

 

But maybe one day.

 

PORTAL

 

 

 

I made this mark on my landscape very large and heavy because it deserved it.

I caught Cerebral Malaria when I was a young man and was by all accounts very near death.

To my great surprise I pulled through.

Near what seemed to be the end for me a great sense of peace arrived and I was quite happy to keep that, but I was not ready to leave here either.

 

Portal reminds me that life, although often treacherous and deceitful, is still a precious friend.

 

This “Portal” theme remains a steady element throughout a lot of my work.

A door to another place.

 

STRANGELAND

 

 

This odd pebble fits nicely in my landscape and makes me smile.

It shouldn’t belong anywhere but defiantly remains.

 

After I made it a scene from Shawshank Redemption came to mind.

 

 

 

Andy Dufresne: Red. If you ever get out of here, do me a favor.

Red: Sure, Andy. Anything.

Andy Dufresne: There's a big hayfield up near Buxton. You know where Buxton is?

Red: Well, there's... there's a lot of hayfields up there.

Andy Dufresne: One in particular. It's got a long rock wall with a big oak tree at the north end. It's like something out of a Robert Frost poem. It's where I asked my wife to marry me. We went there for a picnic and made love under that oak and I asked and she said yes. Promise me, Red. If you ever get out... find that spot. At the base of that wall, you'll find a rock that has no earthly business in a Maine hayfield. Piece of black, volcanic glass. There's something buried under it I want you to have.

Red: What, Andy? What's buried under there?

Andy Dufresne: [turns to walk away] You'll have to pry it up... to see.

 

 

It also looks like a humbug mint and therefore edible.

Perhaps when whoever it was that made this Universe was spending the day designing rock types he got bored and thought “Lets have some fun”

 

Life is serious but human beings know how to have fun.

Perhaps we are lucky in the fact that aliens have never invaded because they just can’t take us seriously.

 

But the pebble is completely hollowed out so when you peer inside there is only pitch black and suggests that a bottomless well lies beneath it.

 

Quite often something profound lies beneath a veil of humour.

 

 

NEXUS

 

 

This standing monolith is a door. Beside it lies it’s original interior, core drilled out.

Some people sit on the interior, using it as a bench without realising they belong together and during their lifetime together have only recently been separated.

 

The empty space is just that, empty, just a volume of air, but few people will enter it to pass through the stone. I don’t know why. It  is somehow sacred and private.

 

I have seen people challenged by this and I see a sense of guilty elation on their faces after they have gingerly stepped through.

 

Due to the fact I made it I am not permitted to ever pass through it.

 

A confidentiality clause I had to sign.

 

LOCUTUS

 

 

Another monolith.

Locutus, the listener.

But solid, aside from a slanting hole in its heart.

When the sun shines on it from 45 degrees a pin on light appears in its shadow on the ground.

 

I see it standing in a forest far from human dwellings, as if it just landed there quietly millions of years ago.

 

The stone itself is around 55 million years old and stood for all that time inside a mountain in Italy.

 

It has only recently been liberated and now stands on a lawn in Herefordshire where its owner can see it as she rises from her bed each morning.

 

The marble looks like a stormy sky and for me its integrity and tranquillity  comes from the knowledge and understanding of sorrow.

 

The Sun swings over everyday and so swings the shadow of Locutus, but everyday that circle of light appears within the shadow.

 

QUEEN

 

Tunisian black and gold marble.

 

7ft tall

 

 

 

While making this piece I succumbed to giving it a figurative quality, namely the suggestion of a head.

Usually my work is more geometric.

 

But I needed to lighten up.

 

I secretly admire purely figurative work, when it is true, and I also believe art as a social commentary has its place.

 

This is not my direction though. I am looking for essence. Classic. Always true.

It is hard of course because I am human and do not always see the truth. I can only do the best I can in the short time I have.

 

 

I don’t want to shock you either and or have to write endless essays to help you “get it”

 

Infact this will most likely be the most I will ever write about my work.

 

The pieces are interactive. They have to be sat with. It’s not a dialogue (silly cold word) it’s a wordless communication.

 

You can of course literally talk to them, but whether you do or not

you will still be talking to yourself.

Which is the point

 

 

Queen is happy,

Queen is confident.

Queen is adored because she is neither too pretty or too overweight.

She floats through her gardens admiring her roses.

 

Her inner circle is polished and the outer sand-blasted.

When it rains she becomes one colour.

DESTINY

 

 

Iranian Honey Onyx

7ft tall

 

 

Destiny comes from the same stable as Locutus and Penumbra.

 

I would have preferred her without the base but the client has her on a terrace overlooking the Thames in London as so it was needed.

 

Bases for sculpture can be like frames for paintings. There is a border suddenly .

Necessary but unfortunate.

 

Ideas are born in the mind, where they float quite happily and are almost always compromised when they see the light of day.

 

In this way reality doesn’t ever seem to be the best venue.

We are here, it’s the only one we’ve got.

 

The ladies foot is so beautiful there is not a shoe on Earth that can present it.

 

 

What I’m saying is that the mind holds everything.

The imagination.

The Heart.

 

And so reality is our canvas, our frame our pedestal.

But the viewer understands this and the work of Art can be drawn back to the mind again to freely float.

 

The venue of reality has become simply a transit lounge.

 

 

 

I would like to see Destiny baseless, sleeping silently at the bottom of a deep ocean.

Can you see that?

In your mind, where she belongs.

SPELL

 

PORTUGES MARBLE

 

9FT TALL

 

LOCVATION: HONG KONG

 

 

Spell has a base.

In an ideal world she would be 9ft tall without a base.

Although my Mother has always told me that being a sculptor was a gamble I am nevertheless not prepared to risk the time and money on making Spell 9ft tall and baseless.

 

If however someone is interested please do call.

 

Spell goes nowhere.

Not up, down or to the side.

She moves but within herself.

Your eye is drawn forever to her centre.

While you are there you can dream.

A window to your inner world.

Because she is big and beautiful you’re allowed to look.

Because we have to somehow justifying daydreaming in the middle of a working day.

 

It took me a long time to make her and a lot of thought so she deserves some time in appreciation.

 

Isn’t that what love is.

Who do you love ?

 

Spellbound.

 

PENUMBRA

 

POTUGESE ROSA MARBLE.

 

9FT TALL

 

LOCATION: HERON BAY, BARBADOS

 

 

Penumbra is Locutus’ sister.

5 tons of Rosa marble.

 

While easy on the eye the geometry involved was complex but then thinly disguised by aggressively carved gouges.

 

When I finished it I just wanted to hug it.

Although I rarely get attached to pieces, as you know they are dotted across the landscape of my life as reminders only, I miss this one.

 

Unfortunately she is too far away for visits.

On delivery to the home of Lord and Lady Bamford in the Cotswolds I was informed that the install would instead be in Barbados.

I told them I didn’t have that much fuel in my truck.

 

I was also told that I would have to meet Penumbra out there (lucky me) but later that day the head groundsman said he would be more than happy to erect it himself.

He’s now on my shitlist.

Lambda

 

 

White Italian marble

 

8ft tall

Location: Malibu U.S.A and Hong Kong

 

 

 

 

Lambda is a term coined by Einstein to signify the latent energy of the universe.

You could perhaps call this the sister of Spell but although the energy here is also centred there is a secondary force that lifts you upwards. A verticality.

 

The base is large but due to its strict conformation to the equilateral triangle the word “base” is dubious and I see it more as the same structure.

 

This work is forever on the move within itself. Yes, it is motionless but it is a working machine and you may not hear it humming but if you hang around long enough you may feel it.

 

I just had to make it when it came to me.

I feel that it is attempting to make order of ideas and objects far beyond my imagination and that it is all for my benefit.

 

I have made two Lambdas.

One is in Malibu and the other I have just installed outside a skyscraper in Hong Kong

 

 

 

UBIK

 

 

Kilkenny marble.

 

3ft tall.

Location Texas U.S.A

 

 

 

Ubik is a word created by the author Philip K Dick meaning ubiquitous (everywhere)

 

This work exists as it’s own entity.

It has no “right way up”

 

It has the same thickness in all points along its surface.

It has expanded to as many places within its invisible sphere possible without losing its integrity.

 

This work has been developed using minimal surface theory.

If the piece were to expand any further it would become something else entirely.

 

So it has been captured at this point.

 

At some points in my life I am caught here too, unable to expand further in fear of losing what I have strived to become.

Life is liquid and so change is a constant anyway but the mind can freeze.

 

And you may think you are happy as you are but how about buying that big red hat you saw in the store last week?

 

I don’t like cabbage much but I’ll be pretty content as a caterpillar until my best caterpillar buddy turns into a Butterfly.

 

This piece “Ubik” should be the size of a house. I want to walk through it.

Through the big black butterfly.

 

NEXUS

 

Nexus is an important landmark in my internal landscape.

 

Being that my work is somewhat nebulous and harder to define its origin I never really expected to be represented by The Cass Sculpture Foundation” whose works include more definitive sculpture by the likes of Anthony Gormley and Tony Cragg.

 

Repetition breeds trust and I understand that.

 

When I was invited to show my Portfolio to Wilfred Cass I sat at a table with him and his secretary. Her with a pad and pen in hand and me with my arms crossed.

 

He slowly flicked through the pages and after forty minutes with no words exchanged I thought perhaps he’d drifted off and was thinking about what he might like for dinner.

 

Well he finally closed the book he looked up at me and said

(I was terrified by the way)

 

“Young man, I have not seen such beautiful work in a long time”

 

 

He got it. I’m not saying my work IS beautiful, thats certainly not the intention. But it is truthful.

And If Keats is right then the truth can be beautiful.

 

 

He commissioned Nexus right there and then.

It sold emmediately and sits outside a modernist house in Sussex

 

When I left his offices that very cold November day I hopped into my car and drove off with a big smile on my face.

But ten minutes later I had to pull into a layby due to a minor breakdown. Not the car.

 

Its pathetic I know, but it wasn’t the events of the day it was the events of my whole life.

Those few words from the big cheese  seemed to justify it all.

 

I have been very spoiled in some areas of my life. My friends and family.

But I have also suffered for the desire to sculpt. To get a stone to talk.

I have learnt so much from that suffering I would never take it back.

Unintelligable, unwanted gifts that later may change your life I guess.

 

And now I have to tell you a story about a chicken.

 

 

 

 

 

THE CHICKEN STORY

 

I was so penniless and hungry once I stole a chicken from town.

I lived in Carrara, Italy for 9 years.

It was winter. Someone had stolen my scooter.

I lived in a very high mountain valley in an old shepherds house I had partially restored. He used to sleep upstairs, the sheep below.

 

The house saw no sun for 4 months of the year.

In September I put my favourite dark green sweatshirt on a line to dry after washing. By late January it had dried and when I pulled it off the sleeves broke off in tatters. I still wore it but I looked a little like Robin Hood, which is ironic given my name.

 

After having not eaten for 3 days I cycled the 4 miles downhill into town.

No pedalling required.

I left the supermarket in a sweat, chicken carefully concealed and cycled uphill to home, dizzy with exhaustion and anticipation.

 

I turned the gas oven on but where were the matches? I ran upstairs and found them without turning the gas off.

I struck the match into the oven and was blown backward against the kitchen wall . Most of the skin from my right hand was peeling off or gone.

I threw the chicken in the oven with a handful of Rosemary.

 

I sat outside on my little terrazzo and ate the whole thing.

It was the best chicken I have ever had.

 

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