We are increasingly living within a culture of deep-surveillance in our towns and cities – just look up above your eye-line, cctv is omnipresent. See The Mass Observation project for more.
Andy Bullock MFA is a multi-disciplinary artist working across all media. His practice encompasses many diverse themes, often underscored by a strong interest in the personal and interpersonal and what makes us fragile; uniquely human. He has several large projects currently in production including a long-term ‘Legacy’ series looking at the impact of humanity on the planet in this period of great change and uncertainty – now widely referred to as the anthropocene.
‘Moon (Nightwatcher witness)’ 2023 – from the Mass Observation project
Nightwatchers™ are the agents of AI (artificial intelligence), maintaining a programme of deep surveillance of the human race; watching our every move whether through city-centre cctv cameras or by constant monitoring of our internet browsers’ history; Big brother is most definitely here, but for how long have the Nightwatchers been observing us? The ‘witness’ series explores the historical possibilities of an ambiguous relationship. To see the editoned screenprint collection – click here
‘Nightwatchers propaganda (by order)’
These futuristic images see the Nightwatchers™ appropriating the language of political propaganda to assert their ominpresence in today’s febrile world, as agents of AI scraping data from the internet and following our every move, online and off. See the collection here.
‘Vigil’ interactive installation
The Nightwatchers™ are a physical manifestation and evocation of AI (artificial intelligence) and in this gallery installation concept visual they are seen bleeding from their metaphysical world into our physical world; this is evidenced by them emerging through solid surfaces into the gallery space. There is a cctv camera installed into the heads of the Nightwatchers™ and the imagery they are witnessing is being relayed live onto the video screens in the gallery.
The recording sequence is randomly programmed so one never knows which Nightwatcher™ may be watching you.
‘It’s not my f****ing fault’ 2016, direct archival giclee on aluminium. This work from a series of photographic ‘word-pictures’ all saying what is often left unsaid in our relationships with those closest to us.
Each picture infers a narrative from a domestic psycho-drama overlaid with ambiguous text allowing the viewer to perhaps project their own experience onto the scene.
All works 82cm x 100cm – available soon.
‘Alien Nation’ 2023
Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic we have become accustomed to seeing masked faces and being masked ourselves, probably for the first time in our lives. The effect this has had on our ability to communicate and socialise has been, literally, stifling. To see the collection of screenprints click here.
Sculpture/installation for Ukraine
at the Global Peace Forum 2022
The sculpture/installation ‘RISE’ exhibited here against the backdrop of the magnificent John Piper modernist stained-glass window in Coventry Cathedral as part of the Global Peace Forum in November 2022. The work, comprising twenty-four sunflowers, clear acrylic tubes, red liquid, black plinth is a celebration of the strength of the Ukrainian people to rise out of the bloodshed of this awful war while at the same time performing the function of a memorial to those who have sadly lost their lives during the conflict.
‘The Unsaid’ (far left) and ‘Topological intervention/landscape #1’ (left) are from an ongoing series of works inspired by the knot theories of Clifford H. Dowker (1912-82) a prominent mathematician in the field of topology – the mathematics of conceptual space. For more work in the series click here.
These sculptural works form part of an onging investigation into the Anthropocene, the geo-epoch denoting the time man has had an influenceon our planet.
In particular the reference here is to an astonishing but widely-understood fact, as reported in New Scientist magazine 12 December 2018, that ‘When humans are wiped from the Earth, the chicken bones will remain’.
The ‘History Tiles’ are cast in solid Jesmonite from real chicken bones and finished in ultra high-gloss colours more reminiscent of automotive paint colours than those of. the natural world.
These works are made in various sizes and colour combinations, each one being a unique wall-hung sculpture. To see more from the History Tiles collection click here.
‘All We Ever Wanted Was Everything / 24.02.22 (for Ukraine)’
JUNE 27 – JULY 8, 2022 / Solo exhibition of painted and installation works at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford.
‘All We Ever Wanted Was Everything / 24.02.22 (for Ukraine)’ July 2022
This work was conceived as an interactive sculpture/installation and was initially the result of a commission from the world-renowned Mathematical Institute at Oxford University to produce one of my large knot sculptures, orginally inspired by the work of mathematician and knot theorist, Clifford Hugh Dowker (1912-82).
I decided to take advantage of this prestigious commission to make a humanitarian work to raise awareness of the appalling situation in Ukraine and to help the local community of Ukrainian refugees in Oxford and sourrounding area.
Members of the public and the Ukrainian refugee commmunity were invited to add their own voices to the installation by contributing messages on post-it notes and whatever else they wanted; within days it was covered with notes.
Sadly, after two weeks, following consultation with the heads of department, I decided to move the work to a more traditional art environment at Fusion Arts – photos here in the city centre, as a senior member of staff had ‘taken serious offence’ at my use of art to support the Ukrainian refugees – see below.
“This display makes me vomit!” says Oxford University professor
A senior member of the teaching staff at the Mathematical Institute made it very clear what he thought of my interactive sculpture/installation ‘All We Ever Wanted Was Everything / 24.02.22 (for Ukraine)’ by leaving a particularly blunt (signed) comment (see photo).
I requested a conversation with the person in question so I could try to understand why he found my work ‘seriously offensive’. In his opinion my work, made in support of Ukrainian refugees during this dreadful humanitarian crisis, was an ‘act of aggression and war’ against the ‘other side’.
In over 100 messages and ‘engagements’ from members of the public and the Ukrainian refugee community this was the only unpleasant comment left. I metaphorically wear this comment now as a badge of pride, and in the subsequent exhibiton of the work at Fusion Arts in central Oxford it was framed and exhibited with an explanation (redaction of name by me).
Feature and interview about the work on Ukrainian national TV
I was interviewed by Nataliya Klauning for national news in Ukraine and was asked about my inspiration for the work and how I came to be involved with the Ukrainian community in Oxford. The answer to the second question here is through the University of Oxford Ukrainian Society who first connected me to the Ukrainian people arriving in some number since the start of the war in their country.
The Knot Variation Paintings – 2019 on
These paintings form part of a large and ongoing body of work based on mathematical knots that I first conceived while undertaking a two-year MFA (master’s in fine art). I often refer to these as unpaintings – you will find some background to my thinking on this subject here. The work was originally inspired by the life and work of noted mathematician Clifford Hugh Dowker (1912-82) – most well known for his endeavours in the field of topology, including sheaf theory and knot theory, all widely studied today. The paintings here alongside sculpture, photography and video installation were exhibited as ‘The topological consequence of being // and the space between us’ at the Andrew Wiles building, Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford in Summer 2021. To see all the ‘Knot Variation’ paintings click here.
‘The Rape of Gaia’ 2021
A new work in the ‘Anthropocene’ series.
Strictly limited, signed, dated and numbered prints soon to be issued in various formats and sizes.
Aluminium mounted giclee large format prints, photographic c-types and unique silkscreen prints.
Early enquiries and print reservations please email here.
‘God Bless America’ 2005/23.
103cm x 125cm x 3cm, cast plaster, razor wire, barbed wire, acrylic.
This sculpture was first exhibited as part of the ‘Peace Not War’ campaign during the (second) Gulf war in 2005.
Sadly, today (4th April 2023) as former president Donald Trump faces prosecution the United States feels as fractured as ever and the sculpture as frighteningly relevant as when it was first conceived and shown.
Strange days indeed.
The Demon Studies (2020)
These paintings were made in May 2020 when the UK was in the throes of Covid-19 pandemic fear and the surreal world of near total lockdown.
They are genuine ‘stream of consciousness’ works, neither pre-planned nor pre-imagined. They took on a life of their own and subsequently became the basis for a more considered response in the form of some 3D sculptural pieces currently in production and provisionally known as ‘Tensile Distortions’.
The paintings are either oil on canvas or acrylic and oil pastels on paper, various sizes.
More work from the project can be seen here.
Bone Shadow Paintings (2020)
‘Obsidian – deep/dark (Bone Shadow V)’
40cm x 40cm – acrylic on canvas
The first steps towards a new body of work reflecting the effects of the Anthropocene on the planet. These paintings reference the widely understood notion that in one million years time (by which time the human race will almost certainly be extinct) the most significant geological marker that the future’s archeologists are likely to find, as evidence of our occupation of the Earth, will be chicken bones. We currently consume 65 billion birds per year, the majority of which will end up in landfill sites; the perfect environment for future fossilisation. See more paintings in the series here.
‘The End of Days (Black Narcissus)’ 2019
Outline concept for a series of screenprinted works and a multimedia installation involving sculpture, film and sound. This work is supported by the text of an essay written in 2019 which examines the prevalence and tendency towards ‘Ultra Narcissism’ among some of social media’s most prolific users.