Etching, ink, gold leaf and graphite on paper
50 x 50 cm each
Whenever the origins of self are questioned – or indeed our role within one of our many man-made constructs is demanding of explanation – it is the common-held belief that from the many will come the ‘one’. Whether this be by way of an individual genetic mutation and its subsequent adaptive evolution, or whether it be the bestowing of individual divinity from a deliberate will – by design or by accident – there is always the ‘one’, the hope and the progression, the answer, with all its potential, all its promise.
This artwork shows a bait ball, i.e. many prey fish, presented as a fossil bed – even framed in a deliberate, man-made exaggeration, akin microscopic investigation. Within the mass, richly adorned with gold (the mark of divinity and consumerism) you will find ‘the one’.
The bait ball is a natural phenomenon, a defensive construct used by small prey fish to protect themselves from predators and confuse them. In fact, the fish that create this spectacle are also part of the most numerous and dense forms of bio-mass on the planet. These writhing living masses are sculptural and beautiful, a living singular object created by instinct and necessity of the mass.
Besides attracting a host of nature’s predators, these huge gatherings draw the attention of our own commercial need for resources. Their need for formalised migration makes them predictable. Seemingly endless forms at the low level of the food chain, they are harvested on an industrial capacity subsequently unbalancing the food chain: the process of man-made ‘unnatural selection’.
And as the many go unnoticed, unseen in their demise, what about the ‘one’ – the natural progression, the saviour? Was there a ‘one’ yesterday and will there be a ‘one’ tomorrow?