We are not in the least afraid of ruins was my first solo show, and once again built around a theme. It comprised 33 paintings, including 13 from ‘Industrial’ the themed group show I participated in last November. ‘Ruins’ was shown at gage gallery, KIAC, 40 Ball Street, Sheffield S3 8DB. Appearing concurrently, in the small gallery within gage, was an exhibition of 7 paintings by guest artist Jen Steel, which while not themed, provided an interesting balance to the darkness of ruins.
The idea behind ruins was to expand upon the thematic approach I developed for Industrial, showing also a further aspect to the decay and change that I portray, the destruction that accompanies change, and leaves behind decay. The title is a quote from Buenaventura Durruti’s response to a journalist. Peiter Van Passen of the Toronto Star had challenged him, saying that if the anarchists won, all they would inherit was ruins. Durruti, in response, said pointed out that the workers were used to ruins, they built the factories and palaces of Spain, and they could rebuild, that they were not in the least afraid of ruins. The quote is not only indicative of the preparedness of the Spanish Anarchists to meet the challenges they faced however, it also seems appropriate in a wider sense, reflecting the behaviour of Homo Sapiens Sapiens as we have developed. From the slash and burn approach of our ancient ancestors to the overgrazing of our agrarian past, to global production and the financial market led economy, we have always destroyed to create. As a species, we are not in the least afraid of ruins, merely our own ruin.
The exhibition was well received, with both myself and Jen achieving sales and positive feedback, and my current plan is to take the exhibition travelling. I am hoping to be able to show ‘ruins’ in five different locations in the northern UK over the next year. The exhibition will be built around a core group of 20 paintings, which, should any of them sell, will be replaced by new works representing the same element of the Ruins theme as the paintings they replace. In this way, the exhibition should itself evolve over the period, and that evolution will be recorded through this page.
The first iteration is displayed below, with all 33 of the paintings on display at gage shown.