Modify rather than replace

Once again as the weary soul opens itself to the Euclidean possibilities that have availed themselves, his beliefs have been shaken and awoken simultaneously. How can the text have delivered such a clear opening and yet felt, what inevitable? bound up in this inevitability is a series of slight conjectures or nudges which lead him back to where he began many years ago. A glanced title, a falling object from the boot of a car all railroading him back to a belief in the larger possibilities of things and how he could or might produce of this scale. Only this time less self assured and more likely to listen to the small things.

Why might a set of disjointed parts acquire such significance as to produce the reason, and yet they do. Importance placed on only one element and its historical context leaves the work floundering in issues of the past. To engage wholeheartedly in the production of a total work or at least a belief in this as a possibility is the message.

The reason mentioned earlier is the element which should not falter or end on compromised ground, this should be the bedrock of beginning. Although this may not of been possible in some instances or in some slight but important way for many years. The ideal has returned and when the weary souls path is opened and the possibility manifests itself actions should be taken.

Concrete elements that return from times less depleted steady the way for what is to occur. These previous elements include the need to be within the system to activate a change and not to attempt a position of omnipresence with the ability to dissect externally. An interest in production on all levels and a belief in personal language as a guiding light through this. Why might these torch bearers who have awoken the spirit operate on similar planes that of the textual and the object? The conjuncture at which form becomes symbol and vice versa is an element that has remained true to the weary soul and is to be found back within the torch bearers too. So it is with this fan fair we await what may come from this occurrence.

>Holding Space


Holding and remaining confident in what you assume you are interested in becomes difficult. Nurturing your work when what keeps it functioning is your fragile ego. When the rug of what is the believed baseline of your production is slipped from under you. As I once said before ‘there is no project'(1968)

it becomes apparent that the work only improves at those points where it really begins to fall to pieces.

>Archival Material

>On a recent trip to my past, I uncovered some abstract work I made long before I ever passed through the hallowed doors of any art school, Circa 1995.

It would appear that things have gone full circle. I find these works encouraging in relationship to the trajectory I have been taking over the last few years.

Untitled as yet (UNIT 2) 14, 15 | 2010, 30×40 cms

Untitled as yet (UNIT 2) 36, 37 | 2010, 30×40 cms

These works come out of a desire to continue a system of sequential production started with the first UNIT series using limited elements and set rules. Using materials (spray paint and marker pen) that have another nostalgia even further back in my past graffiti. I have recently been having a ‘reunion’ with the graffiti artists of my youth online.

Graffiti Circa 85-90

This could all been seen as a bit of navel gazing nostalgia, but it is really useful to see where I came from and how and why I ended up making art. I spent a few years wandering in the wilderness and discovered Art was the only thing I could do that wasn’t compromised (not so sure how I feel about that idea now though.) Is art really a form of none alienated labour?

Untitled as yet (overspill) | 2010 20×30 cms

Attempting to open up all avenues and to operate with all of ones experiences must be a worthy thing to attempt.

Obligatory most recent studio shot (18.08.2010)

>Time Flies

>It is nearly a year since an infrequent post, fulfilling its job pretty well then. Since I last posted I have discovered that people have actually read this thing. Well that changes it a bit, makes me already think that I need to MAKE SENSE more on here. The free flowing train of thought thing seems less plausible, but lets see..


What prompted this post was the photo of the studio today and a thought about how the processes of producing works of art are or at least are for me, one of a great time consuming activity. In that I spend a lot of time doing things which don’t actually become works and the things that do end up being works are the things I just could not get rid of/have been worked over so many times to a point of satisfaction. I am not talking about a physical activity with them more a relationship with them, between us, that they fit. Many of the worst things I have shown and done come out of a rushed need to show something, I think it is the same for most of us. But at the same time for me the usual contradictions kicks in- I love the project/serial art work that many of my works adhere too EG the whole UNIT series, setting up a series of exercises to make the work.

SO I guess It is a gradual removal of elements that are not important from one’s practice. Also space is an issue I am becoming more and more acutely aware that sculptures I make(made) need to go somewhere and those places are running out!

This is a current End point which as you can see relates to the IAO and quest works, serial is satisfaction. I guess one of my discoveries of recent years, doing it over and over again creates the impression you mean it. A set of related objects images asks the viewer to connect them up together.

Many of the methods I use to create these things are done to avoid the traditional ways of making geometric abstraction () and to apply both a conceptual rigour and a personal approach to the decisions. I am really interested in what form and colour do but how do you work with them now and not make compromises? It is easy now to look back at my previous works and see many of things I was making work ‘about’ as ways to justify this play, but this is not a moan. Simply I think, since I gave into the idea that I am interested in these slightly outmoded things (meaning I like them) my work has substantially improved. And one of the strangest things is that the work looks more like what might be considered ‘conceptual art’ than it ever did when I thought I should be doing that.

>Remnants and Ideals.

At a point I begin to notice, several of the long term shifts in my methods of production. I am aware of two distinct methods of working that contradict and even sabotage each other.

I often work with the remnants of the modern urban environment. But at times I also work much more with the ideals and produce work from materials with no obvious previous uses.

These two methods, one using the remnants and the other the ideals of a period, appear to be some attempt at a comparison whilst also allowing me to attempt the ideals for myself. Now that I am becoming aware of this shift that occurs within the production cycle, will allow me to make some decisions around how to proceed with a work that addresses this, (A comparison between the remnants and the ideal?).

Also this has made me much more aware of how a conceptual frame work to Art production be it of any type is now more prevalent than ever before. Any ideals I am testing are tested in a method which is related to a 60’s conceptual rigour, that did not exist previous to this. Therefore the ideals are filtered through this method (self-critque?).

I should say as well that I wouldn’t of got to this point without the opportunity to show my work and consider it’s purpose, yes showing your work is important.

>UNIT Kingsgate show

30.05.2009 – 15.06.2009
Preview: 19th March, 6 -9pm
Kingsgate Gallery presents ‘UNIT’ an exhibition by Dai Roberts.

UNIT started by manufacturing a set of materials in a unitary size1. This size was arrived at in relation to its ease of working within the human scale2 . Three materials were selected, acrylic sheet, particleboard and copper rods, chosen for their visual and constructive qualities. Although these materials appear to be pristine, as with previous works they started life as found materials. A system was devised to work these materials into three-dimensional objects.

UNIT exists in a space between object, artwork and furniture and tests the possibility of cohesion between these different forms. Where the final sculptures take on either a pseudo functional appearance or something more akin to a traditional piece of sculpture; this dichotomy is a key element of the work.

UNIT drawings came after the sculptures and out of a need to find a completion. Each sculpture did not seem to come to a point of completion and many varieties of UNIT sculpture were made before starting the drawings. Each drawing a finished thing in itself was created. One key characteristic of the drawings is their lack of adherence to the rules of gravity. They are not a reference to a possible sculpture but are a work in themselves. They are abstract drawings at the same time as alluding to concrete objects.

Dai Roberts lives and works in London. He completed a Fine Art degree at the Nottingham Trent University (2002) and Masters in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art (2005). He has taken part in the Rojaraku spatial workshop in Latvia and the Braziers international artist workshops. In 2006 Roberts formed the Noonday demons a collaborative drawing project. In 2008 Roberts won the Marmite Painting prize.

1.The unitary size (285x285mm) was arrived at in relation to the ease of working. The single unit being a favorable size for the hand, recently noted its closeness to the foot measurement.

2.The works all adhere to the unit and range from 1/4,1/2,1,2,3 units in scale.


>These are a few preview images of the work I have been preparing for the show UNIT.

In preparation for this show I have been writing a statement which my fiance (an ex arts administrator) informs me is a dense load of pretentious rubbish that she doesn’t even understand, brilliant!
Back to the drawing board with that one.

The more I am involved in the production of art works, the more I think and look at works critically. This may not necessarily be a good thing. I often think why is this here, why have these things made it here and what hasn’t made it here? By here I mean the site of contemplation, specifically the gallery. It would appear we all become more skeptical about how things become a work of art worthy of mention, ALL OF US.

Back to the UNIT, some of the drawings or in fact all of them remind of my teenage years of absent doodles with the great glee I had because I can draw 3D. One of the purposes of attempting to draw this drawing 200 times is testing exhaustion of the idea. Alongside the idea of constructing an abstract image that informs a sculpture, it defines a form in a way that the sculpture cannot e.g. ignoring the effect of gravity.

The sculptures are based on working with a unitary size which has been arrived at through a process other than measurement. This is used as the basis for constructing this series of sculptures, testing various natural occurrences for sculptures (objects that exist in space) e.g. volume, height, balance, material tension. From these tests, objects appeared and these objects are then refined to either epitomize these forms or if at a point they equate to another existing object this is highlighted, such objects as a table, stool or shelf .

N.B. I have now measured the UNIT (it is 285mm.)

>standing up

>Speaking to someone recently they asked that annoying question of ‘what art do you like?’

being slightly inebriated I came up with this

The inventiveness of modernism
The investigations of Conceptualism
The boldness of the New York school

I was quite pleased, sounds like a good recipe.

How ones ability to make art manifests itself is a source of frustration and interest for all those involved in the practice of making. This year having worked full-time for most of the year in an arts based environment, has allowed me to think about work whilst not actually spending as much time constructing. What I have found is a consolidation of my practice and a surfacing of ideas into concreate things that i can focus on.

A confidence and belief in what it is i am doing. This kind of reflection on the work through allowing it to exist without the need for a constant revolution of the work, can and may seem contradictory to my usual desire for the new experience within the work. But one thing I remember one of BA tutors saying is that Art in its very nature is a contradictory thing.