tall stories

A seeming paradox in the wordless nature of a place.. filled to the brim with stories.

‘Pillars’, ‘Placeholder’ and ‘Pietà’ were three works made for Sense of Place, a site responsive exhibition curated by Soraya Smithson and held at the Willoughby Memorial Trust, Corby Glen, Lincolnshire – a former 17thC schoolhouse now library and gallery dedicated to the memory Lord Timothy Willoughby de Eresby.

In the history of the alphabet ‘P’ is for ‘Mouth’ (Mother of all Stories).

‘Pillars’, 18thC Bible; 23 volumes of Encyclopaedia Britannica and Burke’s Peerage 1938, wrapped in bookbinding cloth and tied with whipping twine. (Books loaned from the Willoughby Memorial Library). This work was a response to the notion of boundaries, conceived and upheld by the church, the state and conventional education – parameters formed to contain what is considered acceptable and reject what is not – props to ‘know your place’.

‘Placeholder’, undyed Lincoln Longwool and Jacob Lambswool needlepoint cushion, on a 18th C Lincolnshire Windsor chair next to the memorial to Lord Timothy Willoughby de Eresby. The memorialised story of Timothy’s death suggests that, age 27, he was shipwrecked in the Mediterranean and died at sea, however rumours hint that he may have willingly disappeared owing to his impending Earlship and the fact that his sexuality was a criminal offence at the time. The work simply holds a place for those whose stories are ‘out of place’ somehow.


‘Pietà’ iodine and baby oil on newsprint paper. Just as a memorialised story is a form of fiction so too is one that is demonised. This work reflects on local events that became headline news in the early 1990’s. Despite being such an extremely tragic story, it seemed important to acknowledge it in some way, however subtly. The work is a contemplation on the fiction of separateness and apparent tragedy that can occur around those who experience it as real.

a book with two covers and a certain number of pages

‘a book with two covers and a certain number of pages’, 2022, single edition hardcover book. A collaboration with Joana Cifre Cerda and shown as part of May Show, our co-curated exhibition at x-church, Gainsborough in May 2022.

The book is compiled of images and words from our past decade of collaborative works alongside fragments of text from Samuel Beckett’s Unnamable.


is there a single word of mine in anything I say?

it is this voice which has often, always, mingled with mine, and sometimes drowned it completely …

perhaps that is how it began

the ‘I’dea is never ‘mine’


‘I’ ing

the subject

most blameless thing that divides the world in two,

as thin as foil,


the partition,

two surfaces

and no thickness

the knot which ties the seams

between who seems

between the ‘I’ and the (k)not ‘I’

(bending, binding, bonding)

a wordless thing

a picture, a circle,

broken at its lowest point …

a point, or dot …

… a circle and its centre in search of each other,

a centre and a circle

and a centre not its centre in

… in boundless space,

in endless time …


perhaps that is how it began?


I must have mixed them up, these nameless images,

these imageless names,

and this word which is perhaps not the right one for the thing I see when I hear it




I am far … far from my subject

let’s go back to it


it’s gone …


… where was I?

oh yes, my subject, no longer there, or no longer the same

joining but jumbling

boundaries continually altering

the inside becomes the outside and vice versa


like the emergence of another world, these marks, these traits, irrational, involuntary, accidental, free, random, non-representative, non-illustrative, non-narrative no longer either significant or signifiers: a-signifying traits, traits of sensation, but of confused sensations (the confused sensations that we bring with us at birth), manual traits with a rag stick brush or sponge; throws with his hands as if the hand assumed an independence and began to be guided by other forces, making marks that no longer depend on either will or sight, almost blindmanual


where was I?

drowned in a sea of subjects and objects

all interchangeable


in the middle of the end

‘dream answers’, 2021, wool felt text on mohair sweater.

‘drawing_a_line’, 2021, single channel video projection, in collaboration with Joana Cifre Cerda.

The pieces were made for Middle 18, a group show at x-church, Gainsborough, October 2021.

_not her_

‘_not her_’, 2020, assemblage of giclee prints, wool felt, flax and cotton crochet balls, oak chair slats.

Shown as part of the what three words, three person show, ‘corner.proof.riders’, at gP project space in October 2020.

ongoing nowhere

‘ongoing nowhere’, ( 2020) triptych assemblage/relief of giclee prints, wool felt, oak chair slats and magnet scraps; live sculpture with stuffed piece.

The work was made for our what three words, three person show, ‘///corner.proof.riders’, at gP project space in October 2020. Prior to this, Nick Simpson, Andrew Bracey and I had curated an exhibition of work made by 45 artists during lockdown and we were keen to curate a show of our own work made during that period. The pieces were a reflection on the contentment of going nowhere.