Petrifaction by Numbers

Petrifaction by Numbers

Or a Geological Map of the Brittle Isles

Watercolour 240cm x 150cm


Kneeling before the beauty of a geological map of the British Isles there are many non-geological thoughts to be held beneath the subsoil.

The geological map is partially a Georgian/Victorian sermon to itself, the worship of diligence and industry, part incantation, part medicine to lovers of human time.

What else could I do but grind rock into watercolour to mimic geological erosion as mountains chains are worn away by ice and rain?

Not having the means to possess the legion of milled fabricators so bountifully enslaved by the local art factories, I decided to go about things in the longest way possible. Many of the rocks and pigments are self-mined - tourmaline from Cornwall and fossil wood washed up on some Jurassic shoreline in Gloucestershire. I crudely evicted manganese ores from mineral veins in the Mendips and carefully clawed out ochre from quarry walls in the Forest of Dean in much the same way that our ancestors used ochre for their cave paintings and sprinkled over their dead for the journey beyond life. The Land and the Soil, the blood and stone - will welcome you home.

It seems fitting that gems and minerals, the causes or spoils of war are sometimes crushed into pigment.

The obscured figure is made out of the mineral apatite found in our teeth and bones, it fluoresces under long wave radiation in the dark, which for mineralogists is a sign of impurities like lead, uranium and rare earth minerals.

I wanted people to place themselves within the Brittle Isles and claim our own geological map through the minerals our bodies recieve - we are drawn from our birthplace.