Look and See

The difference between looking and seeing

By definition, to look is considered to be the more conscious act. We see things that come into our vision, unexpectedly, we look with intent. This suggests that looking is the more purposeful, dynamic activity, involving thought and will. We turn our gaze to a specific thing. Seeing, it seems, can be almost accidental, and does not require thought. But, a deeper meaning of ‘to see’ is to reflect on something and to gain an understanding of something. It doesn’t have to have been visually seen. As in “oh, I see,” it involves a realisation, a moment when we cross a threshold from something unknown to something known. You can look without seeing, but can you see without looking? It is this deeper meaning to which I am referring with the series of installations and photographs Look and See. (I owe a debt to Roy Voss, my tutor from the University of the West of England, where I studied a Masters Degree from 2006 to 2009, whose work I am openly referencing with this series.)

 

Grinlow Art Trail, Buxton, Derbyshire, 11th-13th July 2014

As part of Buxton Festival Fringe’s first Grinlow Art Trail I installed a specially made version of I am a Traveller in Both Time and Space into the Trail’s woodland setting. The imagery this time was specific to Buxton, Grinlow Wood and the surrounding landscape and was an acknowledgement of and reflection on my roots, both geographical and emotional. After much travelling through time and space I find myself once more, temporally and temporarily, ‘home’.

I am a Traveller in Both Time and Space, Version 2, Installation View

I am a Traveller in Both Time and Space, Version 2, Installation View

I am a Traveller in Both Time and Space, Version 2, Installation View

I am a Traveller in Both Time and Space, Version 2, Installation View

I am a Traveller in Both Time and Space, Version 2a

I am a Traveller in Both Time and Space, Version 2a

I am a Traveller in Both Time and Space, Version 2a (detail)

I am a Traveller in Both Time and Space, Version 2a (detail)

I am a Traveller in Both Time and Space, Version 2b

I am a Traveller in Both Time and Space, Version 2b

I am a Traveller in Both Time and Space, Version 2b (detail)

I am a Traveller in Both Time and Space, Version 2b (detail)

I am a Traveller in Both Time and Space, Version 2c

I am a Traveller in Both Time and Space, Version 2c

I am a Traveller in Both Time and Space, Version 2c (detail)

I am a Traveller in Both Time and Space, Version 2c (detail)

I am a Traveller in Both Time and Space, Version 2d

I am a Traveller in Both Time and Space, Version 2d

I am a Traveller in Both Time and Space, Version 2d (detail)

I am a Traveller in Both Time and Space, Version 2d (detail)

Octavio Paz, Single Words, Left Aligned, 1957-1987

2014 FaB Paz 21 stillness mini 2014 FaB Paz 19 begins mini 2014 FaB Paz 14 lucidity mini 2014 FaB Paz 13 civilisation mini 2014 FaB Paz 08 modulations mini 2014 FaB Paz 05 restless mini 2014 FaB Paz 59 erosions mini 2014 FaB Paz 56 dogmatic mini 2014 FaB Paz 40 deadland mini 2014 FaB Paz 27 apparition mini 2014 FaB Paz 24 unheard mini 2014 FaB Paz 23 silence mini

As part of the Still Points;Moving World exhibition in Bath, UK, from May 23rd to June 8th, James Merrick has been given a space which used to be the changing rooms in the Old Officer’s Club department store on Stall Street. A text generated from the Collected Poems of Octavio Paz, Merrick’s contribution (Octavio Paz, Single Words, Left Aligned, 1957-1987) is a digital projection originally created in 2009, but when projected onto the mirrors of the changing rooms the piece is utterly transformed and made anew, proving the original premise of the piece that the work and the words change depending on the context in which it is shown.

Marcel Duchamp suggested that art could be reduced to the choices made by the artist: I choose to use this colour paint; I choose to use that bottle rack. With Octavio Paz… James Merrick uses the choices made by a long dead poet over a thirty year period to produce the work for him.