Where were you born and when?
Born in USA in 1942.
Which art school did you attend, if any?
I did not attend art school but took a postgraduate degree in anthropology
while also attending classes in film, drawing and art history. Spent
a lot of time travelling, looking at paintings particularly. And probably
it's worth mentioning that my major interest in anthropology was in
so-called 'ethnographic' art.... So I'm basically 'self-taught', whatever
What would you say is the underlying philosophy
behind your work?
My philosophy? I'm not sure how to sum up an abstraction... But on a
practical level, my work centers around my investigation of the overlooked
significance of ordinary cultural artefacts such as postcards, domestic
wallpapers, television fantasies, childrens' games, ghost stories, and
memorial plaques to forgotten heroes, which I use as basic materials
in works that range from video installations to paintings. I've been
working like this since the early '70's when it was considered impossible
to have this kind of practice. . Often I directly employ processes related
to the subconscious mind, including dreaming, states of reverie, automatic
writing and improvised vocalisations. Death, desire and language are
major themes in my work, which evokes the uncanny, suppressed aspects
of our collective cultural production...
Can you describe the exhibition/s that you had
at Matt's Gallery?
To make up for the lack of brevity above, I will say that both my exhibitions
at Matts Gallery have been well-described by other people, particularly
in the catalogue published by Matts on my work in 1990.
"Work in Progress" Matt's Gallery
How did you come to exhibit at Matt's?
I'd known Robin Klassnick
for a number of years, I think before he started the Gallery. There
was an important set of developments in this country in the early 70's
which we were both part of.
How would you describe the experience of working
with Robin Klassnik and his gallery?
I have always said that working at Matt's is a unique situation. Robin
is creative, meticulous, involved, sensitive, patient, and outspoken--
He is willing to argue with the artist about the validity of ideas that
may finally take form as work in the gallery and he is also willing
to allow time for the work to develop.. He trusts the artist and he
also trusts his own judgement; the result is a working partership that
enables work of considerable ambition and innovation to emerge.
"An Entertainment" Matt's Gallery
What other places do you show your work?
I show wherever I feel the situation is appropriate for what I do--
this ranges between, say, the Tate Gallery and small non-commercial
spaces run with integrity and creativity. I also respect some commercial
galleries for their contribution to our communal enlightenment. Basically,
I dislike showing anywhere that's intensely bureaucratic or where the
curators don't have much knowledge of art (including practical, hands-on
What do you think about the artistic community
in the East End of London?
Don't know. My sense of community extends further afield, although for
years I had a studio in Clerkenwell. Are you sure the current hype around
the idea of a tight East End "community" isnt just a new twist on provincialism???
I had a studio in Clerkenwell in the 80's. It was a SPACE studio, and
that's why I was there. I loved the area and explored eastwards. But
the atmosphere in the building wasn't all that great-- the artists who
were actually exhibiting were in the minority. Usually I was too busy
to go to the pub because I had several jobs, a family, etc. and needed/wanted
to work when I went to the studio. Unfortunately, this made people cross.
But I will add that whether or not one lives or works in the East End
seems fairly unimportant to me, since we have a public transport system,
telephones, email etc and the ability to communicate with friends and
colleagues wherever they are. .. Although nowadays I'm probably in the
East End several times a week for exhibitions, meals,drinks or whatever,
there are also interesting things happening south of the river and in
North London. Being a "London-based" artist is a definition that suits
me and a lot of other artists, but being a "West London artist" or an
"East London artist" seems a misleading idea, probably the creation
Why do you think so many artists collected in
the East End from 1972 onwards?
Where is your next exhibition?
I am going to show my video installation WILD TALENTS in a warehouse
in Clerkenwell in June 98. Shortly after, I'm participating in a group
exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. I also have a couple
of solo shows coming up soon, in far-flung places.
Other Educated Persons
Map of Tower Hamlets