R&D 3 | Drawings

My main intention during this project is create something that is able to versatile, able to change. An art ‘vessel’ which is not just a statement or an end in itself, but which can be used as a tool to consider new ways of making and presenting work.

A important aspect of this project should be in the combining, juxtaposing, or clustering of several sculptural elements – A way to creatively explore something other than singular, solid lumps of object based sculpture.

An inspiration for this method comes mainly from the artist Max Ernst’s, technique of overlapping unrelated images, which when seen together can appear as something new and unrelated, strange and unnerving. The outcome is that something unexpected occurs, both for the artist and the viewer


I have chosen to house the project in a purpose built wooden building, which is like a garden shed. This will form part of the works elements, but also enables me with a purpose built gallery in which to base and encase the project.

Also, for the time-being, it is a method to remove the problem of finding and liaising with a proper gallery. To my mind, In a way it’s an ultimate, artist-led, portable gallery, in which, for this experiment, we are the gallery, curator, artist and performer

The shed is also a frame and reminds me of Francis Bacon’s method of using the frame and the box, or cage in his paintings as a device to create a separate reality in which to imagine and stage oddness or horrors. Or similarly Giacometti’s method of using the cage to evoke a situation of surreal drama


The constituent parts of this artwork include (at this design stage), The shed, containing a Blackboard with Drawings, a Table (or is it a bed?), and the Objects on it and around it.

The space inside this shed is cell-like and measures 7 feet wide, by 8 feet long. It has an entrance and a small window, with a larger overhanging roof.

I like the way that, (on paper at-least), the contents are almost familiar to a shed context. A shed can have an association with being somewhere for (stereotypically), a man to escape the rules of the house. A personal male sanctuary for storing jars of rusty nails, hobby projects, smoking joints, cider, dirt, lost childhood..


These drawings are a way for me to think about how I will make and shape the parts of the objects, the stuff on and around the table. These objects will have colour

I want the table sculptures to consist of many elements which can be arranged and rearranged, in the manner of children’s building blocks.

I also want them to be made and sourced by the basic action of a tool or machine, yet when combined and arranged can be suggestive of something organic


At first view this shed contains normal expected and typical shed-based objects. In detail they start to appear overly anthropomorphic, or suggest the recent presence of a person or voyeur. Something is sinister, dreamlike. Something is missing – The presence of the man perhaps, performing some sort of dissection?. Is the thing the man?, Is the whole shed a metaphor for the mind of a man?. The window is like an eye, looking inward and outward. It is claustrophobic. It could be fun, but there’s also malice, despair, maleness



This blog-post forms a part of an Arts council funded ‘Research and Development’ project.

The artists involved are Daniel May, working in collaboration with the artist Ben Lloyd


This project is sponsored by The Arts Council of Wales


Previous blog posts for this project can be seen here


One thought on “R&D 3 | Drawings

  1. I think the idea of the box gallery is a good one, and gets round the problem of having a fixed exhibition, this way the box can travel and a new ‘exhibition’ can happen inside it each time, perhaps then the coincidence you talk about in the last blogpost can become more involved, as in the context can affect the work continuously.

    The drawing are great, but wasn’t the original idea more about sculptural experimenting not designing and making?

    If this is the case perhaps drop the pencil altogether and go straight into sculpting/arranging. As the original concept was to make sculptural elements that can be rearranged into new combinations. I think a problem you might encounter next is how to not design these elements, but just make them.

    I know you and your work and design is always a fundamental part of your process. For this project I’m sure you intended on throwing away the idea of design. Design Antonyms: disorganised, being, accidentally, chance, unplanned. And some the references are to Dada ideas of chance (though I guess there is always a confusion between Dada use of chance and Surrealist use of juxtaposition which was much more contrived). Put it to the test and see what happens, it certainly will be a struggle with Danny the designer/controller.

    Perhaps just set yourself the task of doing and photographing, then post the images up here.

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