Artist talk by Jonathan Parsons on his work ‘Fossil Ocean Floor’

Saturday 14th July, 2018

fossil ocean floor installation for Jonathan Parsons pic 5

‘Fossil Ocean Floor’, 2018

On Tuesday 10th July in the beautiful setting of Leith Hill Place artist Jonathan Parsons delivered a fascinating talk about his latest work ‘Fossil Ocean Floor’ and the wider concepts of his art practice.

The work was a contribution towards the Surrey Unearthed project which featured 9 other artists, whose objective was to create outstanding works which engaged with the wonderful natural landscape.

Jonathan’s talk began with his interest in occurring images, whether this is something we portray deliberately or something which occurs through a spontaneous approach. A phenomenon which attracts our sole attention where we start making sense from what is given to us, which constructs questions like:

  • How do we make an image?
  • How do we understand an image?
  • How did this image emerge?


Could an image originate from a wider experience, like a painting or drawing?

Remote Imagery is an important component involved in the process of creating, as the acquisition of information found in an object or phenomenon without making physical contact with the object draws contrast to on-site observation.

This then follows onto Jonathan’s concern with a sensory experience.

Sensory comes from the Latin word sentire, meaning “to perceive, feel.” When you include an experience as well this sense heightens where you start to evolve outside normal sensory channels.

In relation to ‘Fossil Ocean Floor’ an individual sensory experience is firstly achieved from Jonathan as he impacts with the surroundings. The use of white in the work is inspired by ancient chalk hill figures, and the discs representing the texts inform the microscopic coccoliths that make up the sedimentary layers of chalk to which the work ‘lamina’ refers. Although this is an in depth account with meaning, the beauty this work gives is a chance to inherit your own experience forming passages to new theories and conversations.

‘Fossil Ocean Floor’ remains installed until the 31st August 2018, so an opportunity is still open to encounter your own sensory experience.


Affiliate at Safehouse 2

Sunday 01st July, 2018

(Time Operation) work 4 (Temporary Title) Stage 2 - Day 4 - pic 1.JPG

Work 4 (Temporary Title) – Stage 2 (Day 4)

• A really exciting opportunity to have my work featured in a group show, which was contained in your not so ordinary gallery setting. This for me was a chance to have my work showcased through a new procedure, of challenging myself further in terms of environment setting and work production.

• The space I was to compose in was called Safehouse 2 an old derelict vacant house. The aesthetics which were offered really connected to my work, in relation to how I construct through the means of building materials and appliances. An ambiguous unfolding of something being created, in a place which needs to be restored.

• The operative system / Time Record Sheet for this beginning of Work 4 (Temporary Title), was going to alter slightly. Firstly Stage 1 and Stage 2 will be executed over 5 working days with all-time restrictions changing, due to the amount of time given for some of the working days. My day would begin from the moment I wake up, as this is me preparing for the day ahead. I would travel religiously for these 5 days, making sure that I always get the 7:44am train to arrive at the destination at 9:30am, 30 minutes before I start carrying out the exercise. I did not see this as an endurance test, but a description of what routine, ritualization and obsession may look like. All three subjects which are fixed within my art practice.

Analysis of work 4 (Temporary Title)

Tuesday 26th June, 2018 – Marked a full day of installation – Arriving at 12:00pm and finishing Stage 1 – working (Unknown Process) and instalment at 17:00pm.
New materials to be activated but a through a similar process used in Work 3 (Temporary Title).
• The first aspect I had to discuss with myself and the other artists involved in the show was a decision on space. I wanted a good largish space, with great lighting. The outcome on chosen space was brilliant and was perfect for what I intended to do. Situated on the 2nd floor and with all requirements included.
• The (Unknown Process) materialized really well, and was fascinating to see this working collaboration between surface, materials, elements and working space.
• The Drying stage was to take place from 17:00pm on Tuesday 26th June, 2018 through to Wednesday 27th June, 2018 at 10:00am (Proposed time of starting to imprint all Concave shifts found on the reformed surface – Brilliant White Matt paint to be used for this.) With (Cupcake and Celtic Dream Emulsion paints used to imprint all projected shifts found). Only to be achieved during the allotted time given.
• The system of time will be illustrated on the wall – A pencil format document of a constructed Time Record Sheet).


Stage 1 – (The Unknown Process)


Stage 2 ( Day 1 going into Day 2)

Wednesday 27th June, 2018 – Understood that I was working on a learning curve. Not was I just getting used to working in a new space, but I also had to get my head around this new operative cycle I had set. Start Time had changed – End Time had changed – The (Unknown Process) was to be included on a daily basis and not a weekly basis. The Time Record Sheet was modified. One key element I was seriously learning was this matter of TIME! This one major attributes which dominates and dictates my work. I am learning to respect time, what I mean by this is how best I work with time, using it to the best of my ability. Every tick I can hear when I am working is an indicator to time passing. Although I have not designed a system where I have to cover the whole surface, and if I do not I have failed, I still want to achieve good results, and this is seen by the amount of information provided each day. For this work I found I was working much loosely with the paint, much more painterly where I was almost gliding the paint across the surface. The most obvious obstacle I have to deal with is having shifts within shifts, meaning avoidance has to take place otherwise the results are not factual.


Stage 2 ( Day 2 going into Day 3)

Thursday 28th June, 2018 – An introduction of Emulsion paints – (Cupcake) – A joyous playful vibe of delicious pink imprinting this reworked, deconstructed, reformed surface. A real collision between the organic, with the earthiness of dirt, infused with an industrial constructive aesthetic of slurry mixture and cement, washed down with this manufactured purposely designed emulsion. A recipe of a mashed up experiment. The emulsions used gave the work a distorted feel, but with a deliberate approach to amplifying an investigation. Working mush more freely with the emulsions compared to the matt paint, as the surface area of informing the projected shifts is far greater. Thinking about the flooring and the residue which came away from the surface was very interesting. Big shaped like rocks breaking away, giving a feeling of a mass collection of nature taking over. It made me think of this work evolving in its own habitat, similar to how happenings are carried out. Where the viewer becomes part of the work, and takes on a direct connection.


Stage 2 ( Day 3 going into Day 4)

• Friday 29th June, 2018 – An interesting essay I have been reading is Allan Kaprow’s – (The Blurring of Art and Life) in particular (Happenings in the New York Scene) 1961. The most interesting sections I found were on happenings and chance encounters. What Work 4 tries to generate is a feeling which is non purposeful but carries intentions from both. In terms of happenings, the simple appliance of action which pushes something to happen, where this emergence is something produced out of nowhere, the form is open ended where failure is non-existent. In chance it’s the moment of spontaneity, where elements are pushed through risks and non-fear components. I find I constantly challenge myself and the work, a playful but intense approach proven by the strains each is put under. On this day I worked as normal, still in Safehouse 2 and in my working area, but I did slightly alter the cycle in order to gather more viewer participation – In connection with the Private View which took place between 18:00pm and 21:00pm.


Stage 2 (  Day 4)

• Saturday 30th June, 2018 – The Private view was a fantastic event as not only was it a chance to activate my working process and skills to an audience, I also had the opportunity to discuss, and take on new developments from who saw it. Working in the space like I did tested the mind of an art beginner. For example two visitors even questioned whether I was an artist in the show, or a construction worker refurbishing the house. Work 4 (Temporary Title) definitely displays a work which is in progress. Having an in depth conversation with MA Fine Art Lecturer Andrea Gregson brought new enquiries to the system I have created. One idea I am keen to develop and change is a new mixing procedure for the (Unknown Process) which can be brought in during Stage 3. I am hoping this could bring more emphasis on the applying and removing technique I have incorporated in these recent works.


(Time Record Sheet & Documentation of imprinting application)