The importance of the viewers’ response.

I had originally written this post as a reflection on my show at Yorkshire Sculpture Park in spring 2019, but due to being pretty rubbish when it comes to adding pages and coding my website, it got forgotten about. I’d been trying to find a way of sharing a poem I had been sent by somebody who was visiting the park and saw my show without any prior knowledge of who I am or about the work that I make. I recently found the post when updating my website, so I’ve decided to post it now before it gets lost again. Better late than never I suppose.


Tensions between the materials.

Tension in the knitting.

Tensions in masculinity.

Reflecting on my exhibition ‘Tensions’ at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, I began thinking about what is important within my practice. What is it I want to achieve with my work?

The weather on the weekend of the exhibition was warm and sunny, and so it brought a lot of visitors to the park. People from all different walks of life. It was interesting talking to people who did not have an art background but could relate to certain facets of the work. Maybe they come from a family of steelworkers. Or whether they related to my perceptions and thoughts on masculinity in a working-class background.

What has become apparent is that I am interested in the response people have to the work, and the conversations that can arise from this. I’ve realised that some people might not fully understand the work upon first glance, but have engaged within the conversation and maybe shared their own interpretations. Their interpretation doesn’t even have to be completely aligned with my own personal interpretation. We all experience the work differently. We all experience the world differently.

Art starts conversations, and as an artist, all I could hope for is for the conversation to continue. And so, to summarise on the importance of the viewer’s response to the work, I would like to end with a piece of poetry written by a lady called Moriel Gidney who sent this to me after viewing my work at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

I entered the boatshed      

looked around    

Looked for paintings       

Classic sculptures          

And saw breeze blocks   


And stopped.     

These are the focus       

This is the art.   

Pink, harshly constricted by leather strap  

Block of stone held up against gravity       

By woven strands of denim         

A block adorned by woven denim 

And suddenly my thinking was awoken     

My stereotypical thinking challenged         

Poetry (maybe) borne into being   

Woven into words          


Was the pink, women being constricted by men?   

Or feminine aspects of man        

Strangled by macho pressure ?    


Was the block of concrete, reality,

Held in place by workplace partnerships?  







The artist’s role is to awaken and challenge           


Well done          

Role accomplished      


Boathouse show cover