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The Hard Target, 2023*

Hard Target is a response to the industrialised world’s relationship with the planet that sustains us, as well as the constantly evolving relationships between time, matter and energy.

This work is composed entirely of paints that have been discarded by others. Most are household emulsions salvaged from illegal fly tips close to the artist’s studio in South East London. The Cotton that covers the cradled pannel is up-cycled. The timber is virgin, but from FSC and PEFC sources. All materials have been carefully selected to have a net positive impact on pollution and climate change. The title ‘Hard Target’ refers to the challenges we face as a species, to adapt our ways of living to ones that are conducive to sustained habitation of this planet.

By deliberately limiting the palette to paints that have been found or donated, the amount of thought and time required to make work increased significantly, however the amount of waste produced as a consequence became negative. Just as in natural cycles, where there is no such thing as ‘waste’ because everything that is organic is cannibalised for its raw materials, waste materials become precious items of potential. This is the nature of alchemy.

The format is based on shipping containers seen along the banks of the river Thames close to the artist’s studio. They start life brightly coloured, with bold logos and company livery emblazoned on them. Years of exposure to sun and salt, as they travel from continent to continent, accumulating knocks and rust, changes their character. This is a metaphor for the changes that we all face when exposed to the relentless influence of time and circumstance. Change is natural and inevitable. We must remember that we are not powerless in the face of these forces. We can choose to succumb, or to harness them – like the wind and tides can smash a ship on the rocks, or be harnessed by sails to take you to your desired destination.

The hidden image of a restrained and gagged woman can be interpreted as a reference to our planet – Gaia or mother earth who is subjugated and exploited to satisfy our short term desires.

10% of proceeds from print sales are donated to Sea Shepherd UK, an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation charity.

Categories: ,
Weight 5.7 kg
Dimensions 90 × 90 × 5 cm

Phosphorescent paint, salvaged paint, on upcycled cotton, stretched over cradled FSC certified timber panel.