The Narrow Road
Matsuo Basho's The Narrow Road to the Deep North is one of the masterpieces of Japanese literature, written in a mixture of haiku and prose (called haibun). In 1789, Basho sold his house in Edo (Tokyo) and with a companion and very few possessions, he walked up to the wilder northern region of Japan, ending at Kisagata where I grew up. He described the volcano where I worked during my school holidays, Mount Chokai, and wrote that the landscape seemed to have a troubled mind. Later the volcano erupted and what was a beautiful bay became rice paddy fields. Basho was following in the footsteps of his favourite poets of the past. My project is to follow Basho by translating some of the poetry and places in The Narrow Road into visual images, using sculpture, drawing, oil and ink paintings, and live performance.
To accompany the first exhibition of my Narrow Road project at the Poetry Society in London, Chris Beckett and I published Sketches from the Poem Road (Hagi Press, 2015) which was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award.
After the show in London, I have had two more exhibitions of my project, first at the Glass Tank in Oxford (Sketches from the Poem Road, in 2016 with Chris Beckett) and then at APT Gallery, Deptford (Travels in a Paper Coat, with Nikolai Azariah and Chris Beckett, 2018). Nik has made a wonderful short film concentrating on the performance and video part of the show, which you can view by clicking on the pic above.
For a full set of pictures of the APT show, please click here. My artwork for this project is a mixture of oil painting with gold leaf and inks; works made from handmade Japanese papers died with various inks and natural solutions; different types and patinations of bronze. In addition I have added a performance element, which I view as a sort of living, moving sculpture. Films of work in progress and a longer film of the APT performance will be available shortly.
As this project is ongoing, the work has not been actively for sale! But the bronzes are in editions of 3 and I will consider any purchase interest in the paintings, subject to an agreement that they will be made available for future exhibitions. Please email me through the Contact page.