This comment accompanied his etching of The Given: ‘Time and again, a rider, a metaphysical paladin approaches a castle. His search stands for a Northern painter’s riposte to the challenge of Picasso’s much quoted ‘I do not seek. I find.’ In the North, with its obscuring and elusive light, its hollow hills and forests, travellers of the imagination have, as their ultimate legend, by contrast, the search for the Holy Grail.’
I often think of these images passing by this city’s domes, towers and walls.
But also last week when walking through an oak wood on a Lake District hillside.
I love the way his etchings drift between the human and the natural, suggesting narratives of shadow and illumination, filled with meaning in every place. For me they suggest how arbitrary the boundaries we build can be, between the real and fantastic, city and forest, the profound and the quotidian. I took the photo below on the cycle path across the marsh that lies between our flat and the city centre. If we're on a quest we have to be open, to seek and to come to the world.
Twentieth-century philosopher Martin Buber wrote in his essay 'Dialogue':
'Each of us is encased in an armour whose task is to ward off signs. Signs happen to us without respite, living means being addressed, we would need only to present ourselves and to perceive. But the risk is too dangerous for us, the soundless thunderings seem to threaten us with annihilation, and from generation to generation we perfect the defence apparatus. All our knowledge assures us, "Be calm, everything happens as it must happen, but nothing is directed at you, you are not meant; it is just 'the world', you can experience it as you like, but whatever you make of it in yourself proceeds from you alone, nothing is required of you, you are not addressed, all is quiet." ... The signs of address are not something extraordinary, something that steps out of the order of things, they are just what goes on time and again, just what goes on in any case, nothing is added by the address. The waves of the aether roar on always, but for most of the time we have turned off our receivers.'