Cross Country

Artist Statement

The exhibition will be comprised of new works, and the theme of the exhibition will be the land divided and united. This follows on from the themes of "MAKING AMENDS" that considered the way we interact with the land materially and spiritually. By using my materials (which are themselves part of the land) as analogies for the way we regard the land, I can explore aspects of myth, lore, preconception and illusion. Hopefully I can compare the idealised 'land' with the reality. The key words for the exhibition at present are


Cross Country, Cross-section, Dissection, Division, Cross, A Cross Country, A country divided. The cardinal points, West to East, North to South, Travelling, Souvenir, Longing, Memory, Nostalgia, Remembrance. Destruction, Deconstruction, Reconstruction, Restoration, Reparation. Threads, the red thread runs between the black and the white. Flags, flag stones, prayers, prayer stones. Flags of the nations, a black and white flag with red border stones hold down the corners. Corner stone - fills the corner of the gallery. Glass Beads, purchase of land. Exchange.

Stones themselves have curative properties. Stones contain all the materials of life. Continuously eroding to provide the raw materials of living organisms.

In Making Amends I tried to create works that repaid a debt that I personally, and each of us individually must address if we are to be able to live together and not tear society apart. The premise that we are all individually responsible for our actions. By using stones as an analogy for the human condition.

In Cross Country I would like to make works and present them in a way that communicates my concerns at the way we are dividing the land and society.

1. Pure state.
2. Cracks propagate.
3. Decay. Entropy is always working.
4. Cycle repeats.

With larger works I can let the peripherals go, and not attempt to contain the subject totally. The edges still show signs of the history of the materials, quarry marks, shipping instructions. Damage. The marks of time.

In practice my desire is to make "perfect" works, without flaws, faults, scratches, blemishes and other undesired imperfections introduced as part of my endeavor. As I am pushing some technical limitations of the materials and processes, this is very difficult. In fact it is almost impossible and at some point if I am to regard the work as finished (and showable) then I must accept that the work has flaws. So in this exhibition there are works which are already cracked, broken, flawed. For me they suggest the whole, the complete and perfect form from which they derived, and in that is the hope of reunion. And the terrible sadness of loss.

With the black and white works I am attempting to bring together the opposites, the incongruous, so that in their conformation the two become one, while still retaining their separate integrity. The oneness of duality. Two into one. The confluence of the incongruous.

The raw conjunction of black granite and white marble. The granite so vast and dense, intractable, impenetrable, and the marble so soft and vulnerable, like flesh, like light. In some the top half is black and the lower white, and vice versa. The horizons are long, unrelenting, but as the series progresses the horizon is relieved by an interaction between the black and white. There are signs (sine) and signals, pulses, (decaying) oscillations, vibrations, inclusions, extrusions, fossil records, frozen moments, re-memory.

They are like drawings, the scale gives them the presence of billboards, hoardings, they contain the pulse of life forces. They are virtual realities, like peeking into a peep show and seeing the intense scale of the miniature scene so strong that one becomes altered, losing a frame of reference at the moment one looks through the tiny hole into the other universe.

There is an element of souvenir in these slices. A response to our desire to have a slice of the action. To have concrete evidence of our journey.

These slices of the land are revelations of how intimately the environment meshes. How seemless are the interrelationships of earth and sky, land and sea, heaven and earth, black and white? The convergence of the two into one.

The cracked off ends shows that not all is included here, that this is not all there is. In the act of preserving, of measuring, of extracting the specimen it has been perturbed. Is the information we have intelligible? What can we make of it? Or are we forever in the dark through not having received enough of the signal.

I set out many years ago to make indelible marks on stones. All of my exhibitions have to some extent investigated a new way of making these marks. In Cross Country these marks are shown in close-up, enlarged as if by a microscope or telescope. The cross sections and dissections lay open the body of the earth, the sky above the earth below and the interaction of the two which is the realm of human. Here are our symbols, and emblems, tokens and cardinal points fossilized, embedded, laid down, sedimented, revealed and illuminated.

John Edgar
Karekare, 13 December, 1995