Holding on Tightly (2018-)

‘The way to address our vulnerability, fear and self-destructiveness is by making friends with our weakness. We can’t drive away our demons by willpower. We can’t get through the troubles of life by self-reliance alone.’

This work, Holding on Tightly, was brought into focus by hearing a radio broadcast by the vicar of St Martins-in-the-Fields in London, in which he urged people not to ‘hold on so tightly to our private struggles and agonies.’  I had been working on a drawing with a working title of Dark Matter, depicting entities with something dark, a ‘black hole’ at their core.  It was suggesting a sculptural work, and I used it to develop a scale model which I plan to realise at full scale one day.

In the tableau, Holding on Tightly, insect-like figures writhe and twist in turmoil, clinging on to their secrets, seeking to protect their inner core and fend off others. The result is an energetic locking of horns, for the creatures are confined within a space and cannot exist independently of each other.

There are echoes of earlier works of mine: Structures of Impermanence and House of Cards which also explored the theme of uncertain characters seeking awkwardly to assert themselves. These structures were both vulnerable, of questionable stability, and imposing and paradoxically threatening at the same time.