Alastair has a lifetime of experience as an artist/maker, teacher, mentor, and plantsman.
He was taught by Emmanuel Cooper, Walter Keeler, Dan Arbeid, Richard Slee, Mo Jupp, Robert Kesseler, Gillian Lowndes, and Gordon Baldwin, etc. Gillian and Gordon in particular were pivotal in transfoming his thinking and ambition.
Much of his work is a response to his fascination with nature and science, ancient cultures and remote pre-histories, their landscapes, artifacts and mythologies, where nothing can be ‘known’, and description only attempted through ‘informed’ conjecture. No work exclusively references directly any one of these but attempts to synthesise a sense of time and place. He explores ideas through diverse ceramic forms and processes, alongside drawing, printing, photography, etc, but always returns to making bowl forms which, (in common with many neolithic vessels), often have rounded bases, created to define a singular point of equilibrium and balance and act as a metaphor for both valley and encircling horizon.
‘Through the process of making, transitory forms, marks, profiles, etc, are captured and ‘frozen’, often hinting at flint tools, hill forts, barrows, zig-zag trackways, meandering rivers and valleys, the fleeting shadows of clouds, birds and seasons passing, and the underlying flint and chalk of the Sussex Downlands’.
Words from his notebooks include; conjecture, leap of faith, dark age, childlike, savage, Dogon, Orion, Sirius, Dog Star, star-fish, sun-star, polyp, adobe, engobe, red, blood, arch, architectural, arcane, mosque, opposition, balance, heavenly, earthbound, melancholy, melancholia, tectonic plates, mid-atlantic ridge, volcanic, fracture, apostle, grail, beaker ware, homage, pictograph, petroglyph, etc.
Alastair’s current projects include a series of ‘pronken’ plates using surface imagery of endangered species as ‘trophies’, tectonic ‘plates’ which use magnetic imaging as a metaphor for global fracture, and a series of drawings and prints which explore manifestations of ‘melancholia’.
He recently undertook a research trip to the pueblos and cliff dwellings of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado.
Work resulting from this will be shown in New Mexico in 2015