I had been working with circles for some time and was asked to speak to an audience – quite an intellectual bunch – about how my work had been influenced by the landscape where I lived. Tough call. The connection wasn’t obvious, living in flat lands of East Anglia.
I thought about it a while and came up with some rather tenuous thread for my thesis, but which over time became true. I started with Einstein, “all straight lines in space are curved” which I interpreted as the biggest round trip through space and time. I went on to explain a basic drawing trick used particularly in large work, that in order to make a landscape look right, follow the curvature of the horizon and curve that line just a little.
Coastal Suffolk where I lived has an enormous unimpeded horizon. You can actually see that curve and imagine travelling the whole circumference of earth, all 25,000 miles, and other places too (at least metaphorically.) The more I saw, the more I thought about it, the smaller I felt in the grand scheme… You know the sort of thing, the meaning of life, the universe and everything in it.
I rather liked the small feeling. It was liberating. I felt anonymous. I made my work anonymous too, discarding titles. I used a simple description instead, ‘Circle 2468.’ I started with high numbers that decreased over time. I do use titles if I need to, but I don’t make up a title for the sake of it and revert to descending numbers, leaving another 2,000 works to make in this lifetime.