Artist's statement

The steel tip of the burin, as it is driven through copper plate, gives rise to the elastic tension and beauty of the engraved line, and sets fire to the imagination.

Most of my work as an artist-printmaker is made with a burin on copper, wood or lino. I see burin engraving on copper as 'the driven line,' with the forward-pushing action of the burin encountering the resistance of the dense copper plate, driving a line through it.

My early work as an engraver was carried out at Oxford Printmakers' Co-operative (OPC) throughout the 1980s, mostly at night. There was a time I worked evenings as a caretaker at the Ruskin School's printmaking and sculpture studio in East Oxford. After work I walked down the road to OPC to engrave and print through the night.

Around that time, I also worked in the Ashmolean Museum, mounting collections and exhibitions. I handled hundreds of Old Master prints and drawings and these influenced my early work at OPC. Between the Ashmolean and OPC, I inhabited a dream-like world of myth and imagination that came alive through engraving.

Most of my engravings are narrative. Like a key, the burin unlocks the door to a hidden reality, revealing characters and scenes from strange dramas – as if on stage in a Theatre of the Obscure. Some, like Don Quixote, are familiar from the pages of history or literature. Others are more mysterious, appearing as animals or mythical beings from places unknown.

The actors on this stage often pose self-consciously, as if aware of being exposed through this open door to the eye of the viewer. Some seem quite uncomfortable, almost embarrassed at being watched. They respond by posturing, putting on a perfomance – a display. They express for me the dilemma of wanting to remain hidden, yet also wanting to be seen.

a drawing of a hand holding a pen and writing on a piece of paper
a drawing of a hand holding a pen and writing on a piece of paper