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Thinking Beyond Rock

Tags: Solo Exhibition, Outdoor Sculpture, Public Event

23rd June

One Day 26219

This solo show at Cheeseburn combines all aspects of my practice: drawing, sculpture, film, photography and public art. Landscape is a clear theme which runs though the exhibition and in particular my ceaseless investigation with rock as a material and conceptual tool to explore the human condition. I am particularly pleased to be exhibiting for the first time, my day-long shadow drawings, pictured above. These have been made by continued drawing between sunrise and sunset. Other drawings and sculpture offer different ways to view this inanimate material and questions its interconnectedness with human kind. My large screened film Genesis will be viewing continuously, offering an immersive experience of landscape.

Themes of perception, duality, reflection and presence are continued in two large scale sculptures outdoors, in the beautiful grounds of Cheeseburn Grange.

Displaced Topography

As part of this exhibition I am displaying a working model and large scale images of my planned local sculpture Ascendant: The Elizabeth Landmark. The objective is to produce a contemporary landmark and cultural destination at Cold Law on the Ray Estate, which benefits the local community and economy, celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s services to the country and her life-long dedication to the Commonwealth. The success of the sculpture will grow from a sensitivity to land and place: born in form, material and presence from the majestic geography that supports it.

This exhibit explores how my public commissions are interconnected with my studio practice through materials and concepts, how I work across different mediums and scales to investigate our relationship to the planet we live upon.

I will be giving a talk about my work on the weekend of 6/7th July.

Elizabeth Landmark by Simon Hitchens

29th & 30th June, 6th & 7th July
11am - 4pm
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE18 0PT


RWA Secret Postcard Auction

Tags: Group Exhibition, Public Event

30th April

Every now and again I give works to creative charities and I'm delighted to say that I have made a new work for this year's RWA Secret Postcard Auction. This is an important revenue source for the self founded RWA and it is always a joy to see so many artworks by well known and lesser known artists, lined up anonymously.

It offer buyers a chance to purchase unique works of art for as little as £40, by some of the countries leading artists such as: Anish Kapoor, Tracey Emin, Antony Gormley, David Nash, Ana Maria Pacheco, Gilbert & George, Susan Derges, etc.

As it is a secret auction, I can not place an image of my drawing here, so am showing you another recent drawing instead.

The live event takes place on 16th May 6-9.30pm at RWA Bristol

For further information, click HERE

Please go and view the all the cards on exhibition from 3rd - 15th May, as well as the current Sculpture Open exhibition which I have a work in, at:
Royal West of England Academy
Queen's Road
T: 0117 973 5129

Talking ideas

Tags: Studio Practice, Public Event
Screen Shot 2019 01 26 at 15.46

30st January

Yesterday I gave a public talk about my art and ideas which rewarded me with unexpected connections between my studio practice, public commissions and fascinations around landscape. Having worked flat out for the past few months on a huge planning application for my large commission in Northumberland - Ascendant - the preparation and delivery of this talk was perfect timing, to re-examine my practice and concentrate on what is important.

Being an artist is a wonderful journey through life: being able to create my own future and have the privilege of time to spend working out what matters, then adding to that by creating new thoughts and realities. Last nights talk was easily worth all the hours and effort spent drafting it up. Here's to speaking out loud and having the courage to say it now!


Diaphanous Sculpture?

Tags: Group Exhibition, Public Event

11th June

GLASS - Work by Contemporary Artists

Quiet Core Dubai

I am delighted to be showing a number of my glass works in a group exhibition at Canary Wharf over the summer and invite you to join me at the private view on 19th June. The sculptures are part of a series I made a number of years ago using transparent materials to suspend translucent forms, which explore presence, absence and perception. With works ranging in scale from the small and intimate to the mulit-tonned, among the other artists exhibited will be Lilliane Lijn, Annie Cattrell, Julian Wild and Danny Lane.


Exhibition dates:
Monday 18th June - Friday 10th August
Open daily 7am-8pm
Free entry

Exhibition Tour with the curator Ann Elliott and a number of the artists:
Tuesday 3rd July, 6,30-7.15pm
Free, but please contact Canary Wharf Public Art Office to reserve a place.

One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
E14 5AB
T: 0207 418 2257

IMG 3955


Tags: Solo Exhibition, Public Event

8th March
Known for its biennial festival of contemporary art made in response to the Isle of Portland, b-side never sleeps, holding events throughout the year at its project space - Outpost. This month at Outpost I will be showing my film Genesis, which explores ideas of what it is to be human and our relationship to the impermanence of life. To support the film I will also be showing new and experimental sculpture in wax and resin. These appear as rocks or cave-like voids, yet have a disturbing and uncanny similarity to flesh. There will also be drawings and works on paper, exploring further the theme of transience.

I will be talking about the work and the ideas behind it, at 7pm on Thursday 16th March, please come along. I'm afraid places are limited so you will need to book a free place HERE.
I shall also be at Outpost all day on 30th March if you wish to talk with me further about the work.

Touch Stones
16th March - 8th April
12pm - 5pm, Tues - Sat
77 Furtuneswell


Mountain Arts Festival

Tags: Public Event, Group Exhibition

Fallen Cairn

17th October
I am showing a number of sculptures and drawings at The Mountain Arts Festival in the Rheged Centre, Cumbria. This is a brilliant opportunity to view a wide ranging exhibition inspired by mountains and mountaineering. Artists such as Hamish Fulton will be exhibiting at the same time as lectures, discussions and workshops from eminent mountaineers such as Doug Scott, Chris Bonington and Catherine Destival. All profit goes direct to the charity Community Action Nepal

10am - 5.30pm
19 - 27 October
Rheged Centre
Redhills, Penrith
Cumbria CA11 0DQ


Mountain Arts Festival

Tags: Public Event, Exhibition

2nd November 2015:
The charity Community Action Nepal (CAN) is hosting the inaugural Mountain Arts festival this week end in aid of the Nepal earthquake appeal.

The event celebrates mountain culture and investigates what place mountains hold in our psyche. Along with fellow writers, artists, performers and poets I will be in conversation with the poet, critic and author Cherry Smyth about how mountains inform our respective creative practices. Our talk is at 1pm on Saturday the 7th. There is also an exhibition in which I will be showing my current artwork. Fellow exhibitors and panelists include: Hamish Fulton, Doug Scott, Chris Bonington and many others.

Venue: Rheged Centre, Cumbria, CA11 0DQ
T: 01768 868000
Talks and events run 10-5pm from 6th - 8th November
Mountain art exhibition runs 10-5 pm 6th - 12th November


New Art for Olympia

Tags: Group Exhibition, Public Event

15th June 2015:
I will be showing two works at the Olympia Fine Art & Antique Fair which runs from 18th - 28th June. Genesis: a minimal film who's title suggest accurately the films content and sold in a limited edition of high definition films. Limbo: a contemporary take on traditional landscape painting, utilising onyx and photography.

I will be exhibiting with Woodham-Smith Ltd, stand C19.
Daily 11am - 7pm except Thursday 25th which runs until 9pm.
The fair closes at 5pm on the last day, the 28th.

Press Release: Click here


National Sculpture Prize

Tags: Public Event, Outdoor Sculpture

14th October 2014:
Yesterday I, and two other artists, judged the winner of this year's National Sculpture Prize. This annual event is held at, and organised by, Broomhill Sculpture Gardens, where a shortlist of ten UK based sculptors are awarded a sum to make the sculpture they proposed at the beginning of the year. The ten sculptures then sit in the North Devon landscape for the duration of the Summer Exhibition. The sculptors need to manifest their design in durable materials, with the appropriate degree of craft, engineering skills and scale that will deliver a worthy sculpture.

We had a long morning walking around the sculptures, discussing their various merits and designs, and finally narrowed it down to a clear winner of the Prize, which will be announced in a few weeks time. The recipient of 'The Judges’ prize will receive £3,500. This piece then becomes part of the Broomhill Art and Sculpture Foundation collection. There is still time however, for the public to get involved and select their choice as to who should win the ‘Public Speaks’ prize, receiving £1,500. This title is given to the sculpture that receives the most public votes during the exhibition period, taking place both at Broomhill and online.

Below are a few images of the ten sculptures, but which in no way reflect the judges decisions to which one is the winner.


A Glorious Unveiling

Tags: Public Commission, Public Event, Public Space, Outdoor Sculpture, Studio Practice

23rd September 2014
Yesterday, with the sun shining and the urban bustle of 375 Kensington High Street behind, I, the Executive chairman of St Edward Paul Vallone and the Mayor of RBK&C Councillor Maighread Condon Simmonds, collectively unveiled my latest public sculpture Glorious Beauty. Speeches were given in the Trinity House marketing sweat and then we all watched the veil fall, to reveal a piece of nature's raw beauty, a glacial erratic from North Wales.

It was a bold decision by St Edward to commission a sculpture which would be a direct continuation and development of my studio practice, but helped by the guidance of their art consultant, Ann Elliott, they were in good hands to make it.

Typically I source my rock from dimensional stone quarries around the world, where the virgin material is sawn or split from the quarry face in order that it isn't fractured in any way, making it ideal for the building industry or masons and sculptors alike. Unusually, I sourced this stone from a gravel quarry in North Wales. This was because having been tumbled around by glaciers during the last ice age, it had the soft weathered appearance I was after: not a sharp edged, man-made form fresh from a quarry, but an overtly organic, almost prehistoric standing stone type of form. The rock itself is actually a metamorphic mudstone called garnet amphibolite which was formed in Anglesea.

Interestingly, if the last ice age had been more vigerous, pushing the ice sheet further south, then the glacial moraine which was deposited to become a North Wales gravel quarry, may well have transported this very boulder to the heart of Kensington, where between the early C16th and mid C19th there were gravel pits supplying the builing of London's West End.

The man-made counterpoint to this beautiful glacial boulder is a digitally created, stainless steel, mirrored copy of the boulder. At first sight it is not particularly apparent, but through the process of scanning the boulder I was then able to flip the form, almost like turning it inside out, in order that the upper boulder, mirrored the lower. An intriguing series of processes and companies then followed in order that I ended up with the sculpture now sat on the pavement for all to see and touch, a sculpture which manifests both continuity and change:

1. Digital scanning of the original glacial boulder, then flipped in form.
2. New 'flipped' digital file given to CNC machine in Telford, to mill the final upper boulder form in high density polyurethane foam.
3. That foam boulder given to Castle Fine Art Foundry in Wales where a rubber mould was taken of the foam boulder.
4. A new wax boulder made from the rubber mould, exact in every detail to the stainless steel boulder that we see today.
5. The wax boulder cut into about fifteen pieces, each piece being individually invested in ceramic shells and given to a specialist stainless steel foundry in Birmingham.
6. The fifteen or so pieces taken back to Castle Foundry where the jigsaw of pieces were welded back together, in the correct formation. Then followed weeks if not months of fettling, grinding and sanding in order to get rid of the welding lines so that it appeared as a single, solid cast boulder.
7 Then back to Birmingham to an electro polishers, which make stainLESS steel become stainPROOF steel.
8. Then to a designated stainless steel hand polisher in Dudley.
9. And finally to my studio where I had to accuratly drill the stone in order to receive a huge solid s/s rod which fixes the two boulder securely together, and general test fitting, before being installed on site a couple of years after I was originally given the contract.

So there's the back story of what, to me at least, appears as a poetic sculpture, with a calm gravity of presence, that will enhance the public realm at the busy junction of Warwick Road and Kensington High Street.

Top image courtesy of photographer Ann Purkiss

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