“This is not a painting. It consists entirely of unaltered bits of wood collected off the shingle of the East Suffolk coast and stuck on to wooden board – which has, admittedly, been painted white.
The image itself, only slightly stylised, is inspired by the many scratched and pounded prehistoric images of a man ploughing with an ‘ard’ pulled by an ox. Such images are characteristically of the second and first millennia BC and typically occur in rocky areas of Europe from Sweden south to Italy. The ard itself, still widely in use throughout the world and the prime tilling implement in parts of Europe until the later 20th century, essentially consists of just one or two pieces of wood making a ‘sharp end’, the share, which goes into the soil, and a handle (stilt); attached to one or two animals by a beam, which provides the traction.
Having spent many hours watching farmers work the land with these implements, and indeed used them myself from lowland Denmark to Andean Peru, what strikes me are two contrasts: between the lightness of the equipment and the heaviness of the work; and withal the gracefulness of the act of cultivation. My image tries to express this.”
I dug this large and heavy work out of storage with a view to resurrecting it for an exhibition in July; but found that it was so badly damaged during its removal and transport from an exhibition in 2013 that it was beyond reconstruction. So I destroyed it completely; it no longer exists except as this photograph.