Enzo  [1/80th]

Bideford black pigment, collected from a 350 million year-old fossil deposit, ground and suspended in water and tree sap on prepared panel. The work is a photographic record, a visual arrest of a moment in time, before the original is destroyed. 

Enzo-1/80th second pigment ink on gessoed board digital print 2015

Bideford Black pigment, an almost pure carbon pigment collected from a 350 million year-old fossil deposit in North Devon, is ground and suspended in water. In keeping with Zen tradition a brush is loaded with black ink and in a single stroke a circle is drawn. In a traditional sumi-e ensō, rice paper quickly draws away moisture leaving the ink as evidence of the character of its maker. In Enzo [1/80th] the surface is made inhospitable and resists absorption. The ink continues in motion beyond the human hand, pooling and moving on a surface that rejects it. Carbon likes to make complex combinations, catalysts that form the basis of all life. The liquid carbon, an actant until artificially frozen by a mechanical shutter recording just 1/80th of a second. The dark ink is mirror-like and reflects its surroundings. The zen-like form and the hand that made it are subverted, by the harsh fluorescent lights overhead, locating us in a contemporary time and industrialised space.

The circle dates back to our earliest symbolic markings and continues to depict the world we inhabit; from the Zen Buddhist ensō that expresses the universe and mu (the void), to James Lovelock's Gaia theory the circle represents a continuous whole. To draw a circle is to articulate a line that is the edge of a form or the edge of empty space simultaneously. Matter brings with it an agency that is an inevitable expression of what already exists. Reduced to its simplest form with a single gesture, extracted to a single split second.