Response to Richard Long

Richard Long

Richard Long – A Line Made By Walking.

A man walks and walks, and keeps on walking but what does he create, what does he leave behind? A line in a field that leads towards, or away from trees. A line that could have been made yesterday, a thousand years ago or tomorrow. There is no cultural trace that pinpoints time. It is a subtle rub of human endeavour that was made in our time but talks with the past. A single note that sounds back to a dark song of the ancestors – scratching around and exploring their untested earth in excited fear. There are also closer echoes, for me. Reminiscences of boyhood touchlines – penalty box boundaries or hard-beaten escape routes to the woods, the burn and the den.

I know a little of Richard Long and his working methods. But if you came across this line with no back story what would you think? You would be aware of a human presence but perhaps not how it came to be there, what it’s purpose is or if indeed there is one. A line on the earth resonates with most people. Is it a benign boundary or a troubled border, murderously argued between warring nations. The thing that makes us ‘us’ and them ‘them’. Take it away and what happens? A loss of tribe or a gaining of community? Or just confusion? So often a line is used as a marker to control chaos.
The line may not divide at all but may be a link – between here and there, a current state and an aspirational one – a journey in itself through variable zones both physical and mental, the original psychogeography.

Paul Klee famously took a line for a walk – Long took a walk for a line and with it rediscovered the beginning of all possibility – then let it disappear.

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Summer Break Photos

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Three pics from our fortnight on the Isle of Lewis. The Callanish Stones are the pagan heart of the island, way older and more mysterious than Stonehenge. A China Shipping container sitting in the middle of nowhere. A very old push bike leaning against the Hebridean Soap Company wall. Had a nice break but it’s good to be back home and very much looking forward to starting college next month.

Cleansing Fire

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I had a wee bonfire going in the fire pit today. There was a pile of not good enough artwork from college to get rid of. It was great to see them go up on flames – no point in keeping weak work. I know it is often said that you should never throw any old art out but I’ve never agreed with that idea. I think there is a kind of evolutionary thing going on where only keeping the stronger stuff, as a reference point, will lead to better work.

Final Sketchbook Pages

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These are some of the pages from my final college sketchbook. I scanned them instead of the usual photo method which I think is better and may be the way to go. I really enjoyed doing them, working paint, glue, ink and bleach in with my fingers. I’m really proud of them and I think they are some of my favourite things I’ve done. I enjoyed the college year and was kind of sad that it had to end. However, come September, I’ve got the bigger challenge of art school – exciting and daunting in equal measure.

I just realised that this is my first blog post in June. I have to remedy that. I’ll need to get into the creative groove again though – I’ve been a bit slack since college effectively ended a couple of weeks back. The artshed has fallen into chaos again so that needs seeing to and I need to sort out the college paraphernalia before starting any new work.

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