On one of the wettest and windiest February evenings, I joined my wife and daughter for a memorable night at the Norwich Castle Museum for the launch of the new book and exhibition, 'Running wild' by the photographer Frances Kearney. The venue was impressively packed -
I first met Frances a few years ago on the North Norfolk coast over dinner with my Cousin Thomas Haywood, a photographer and his artist partner Sista Pratesi. With a room full of artists the conversation soon turned into a heated debate about the importance of 'peoples perception' of what you do.
I started drawing as a kid like all children, and continued into adulthood for a few reasons. Firstly, I wasn't good at talking and needed speech therapy to be understood. And I enjoyed the time spent with my painter mum, scribbling at the kitchen table late into the night. Making sense of the world for me was always a visual thing, articulated into painting, drawing and sculpture - it was normal and natural.
When an artist creates something, their intentions may become lost behind the 'picture' if the viewer is not intrigued enough to investigate further. The skill of a good artist is to pull you in, to make you respond emotionally, to make you 'look better' -
Frances may not like her work described as beautiful, but it is. Her way of understanding landscape, our relationship to it, our occupancy within it, is sometimes disturbing, tragic, but always magical. My daughter features in one of her new works and seeing the process, the difficulty of making that image has strengthened the meaning for me. Each work is like a pilgrimage, a fragile and timeless scene crafted through sacrifice and commitment. I would highly recommend anyone seeing the exhibition and buying the wonderfully crafted book -