Mike’s practice has themes that recur and take different forms. Some themes relate to his work in data sciences, these concern our relationships to the vastness of the data we have collectively generated and the impact of non-stop communications throughout our waking hours. Other themes look back to uncover traces of less intensively documented times, in a search for tranquility.
Generally the ideas come first and working out where they fit comes later. Sometimes materials have ideas about what they want to be, emerging in the studio when he is in flow. At other times an idea arrives out of nowhere, demanding immediate attention regardless of time of day, stopping him in his tracks to sketch or jot down some words before it is gone.
Ideas get stored in sketchbooks, digital libraries, made as maquettes and finished works. If there is no immediate outlet they get filed away in dusty shelves and cupboards, lost, forgotten, found and lost again until their time come round and they are brought out into the world.
The works in this show have elements from multiple themes. Both works have linguistic elements, and reference binary-form data. Materially they come from quite different places and using processes that are poles apart although sharing the technique of working into moulds.
‘Henge’ was made from ladling hot molten glass into heavy steel moulds, sealing inside a layer of worked aluminium foil and pre-formed glass disks to create architectural forms. After days of annealing and cooling the forms are painted on one surface and asemic inscriptions scratched into them. Grouped together they form a henge and at the same time suggest a huddle of tall beings in an extended conversation.
From a distance the surface-sculptures of the Hide series appear as cratered planetary forms emerging from a soft square-shaped skin. Closer-in, the craters have the appearance of scars. The ‘skin’ is made from Khadi paper, an 100% rag cotton paper made by hand in Kharnataka, South India. The paper is sculpted by embossing into a ceramic tile. The surface of the tile is shaped by gouging into its surface with an engraving tool, guided by a calligraphic brush pattern of zeros.
These works are invitations to contemplate. We can chose to step back and daydream of views that could be distant in time and space, or lean in and lose ourselves as we follow the complexity of the surface detail. They allow us to pause for a moment in a still quiet space away from the clamour of our daily lives.