Completing the Marchmont commission

Reunion triptych charcoal drawing for Marchmont House collection
‘Reunion I, II, III’ Charcoal on panel, 110 x 210cm Photo by Steve Smart

Thinking about ‘Reunion’

I generally prefer to leave room for other people to make their own interpretations of my work but thought that, since ‘Reunion’ won’t be on public display for a little while, I would share some images and try to articulate what it might mean to me. This post explores my own feelings about the work, which became very personal with many layers of possible meaning, but it’s important to say that when I’m drawing I’m not necessarily thinking about anything other than what the next mark will be.

studio view of Marchmont commission

Once it was finished I chose the title ‘Reunion’ for the triptych because it felt fitting at a subconscious level. Now, with some distance between us, I think it could relate to…

Emotional reunion

A physical meeting between humans, between human and tree or other non-human life: the union of flesh or of living wood, a union of parts of the self or with another: the experience of reunion with a ‘well kent tree’ which you have spent time with before, of revisiting, of pilgrimage, seeing again something known and loved: an act provoking joy or conflict, sorrow or sensual pleasure, anger or delight, struggle or ease.

Arboreal reunion

Referencing how parts of a tree fuse together when they touch, known as inosculation: the reunion between parts of a tree which have grown in different directions then cross paths again: the ways a tree integrates or consumes parts of itself to make a stronger and more sustainable structure.

Psychological reunion

Referring to a reunion with the shadow figure – other parts of the self, the lost, the dead, the remembered, the feared, the loved: in religious mythology the idea of reuniting with loved ones in the afterlife, in psychotherapy the idea of confronting and integrating our shadow parts or incorporating the memories of lost loved ones into our psyche: dealing with the pain of loss by creating imaginary reunions.

Artistic reunion

Created using carbonised wood on a wooden panel: depicting a tree with parts of its own kind: an ancient drawing medium used to represent an ancient life form we have evolved with: a connection with past artists who I’ve learned from and wondered at, and with artworks I saw in the Marchmont collection: echoing the theatrical lighting and dynamic movement of the past and contemporary masters who are my guides.

‘Reunion’ hanging on a digital wall

I’ll be presenting ‘Reunion’ next summer at the Hugo Burge Foundation Open Studios, alongside the whole body of work resulting form my residency there.

Find the full Marchmont story here»