Barbican Arts Group Trust




The significance of man throughout time, belonging to all ages, is his existence within the landscape, both physical and spiritual. The land, being an essential part of his environment, from which all things must come and eventually return.

Man carves his existence from the natural elements around him, builds walls from the stones, and marks his boundaries in the ground. His daily life mapped out by the wearing of paths along the earth, an ordering of the natural chaos. This is the physical presence of man in the world.

When, however, those ordered physical elements cease to be of use in the physical world, their physical relationship changes and they become spiritually significant. The spiritual comes from a sense of the past, to be found in those impressions left along the sides of hills; of paths, once trodden in another lifetime, now abandoned to a different age, changed by the natural forces that gradually reclaim their original appearance. And in the lines of stones taken from those same hills that, when traced, form the outlines of a dwelling, with divided rooms and a boundary wall to mark the edge of this existence. Only now, a different kind of life exists therein; small trees and bushes take shelter in each room.

And for those who lived and died there, there comes a sense of wonder, of the vast land around, and how small in relation to this they must have seemed. And where are they now? And time, being marked not by the ticking of a clock, but by the changing seasons; summer, winter, day and night, moon and tide; as in the dreams of pagans. With this movement of time, the inevitable process of decay and rejuvenation takes place in the surrounding land and seas. Like a footprint carved in a rock where, with age, it recedes in time and space. So also, the aging and weathering of the mind occurs, where memories overlap, some becoming only a faint impression, while newer ones remain clear and distinct.

Then, being aware of one’s own inevitable mortality, as slowly turning over to examine the fossilised lives of others that have been and gone before, one finds layer upon layer of rock; reminders of the past, like old photographs piled one on top of another. Believing that within these rocks lies the immortal spirit of man, trapped between each layer, seeing him with unclosed eyes as he stares into that infinite dome of blue-grey air and light, hearing as he sighs under the weight of years the shift of time.

And, whilst standing there, a shadow of the present is cast silently over the past, and soon another shadow will fall over that life, just as the grass will begin to grow over the earth that was a grave.

Fossil 01
Ceramic 60cm H X 30cm


Fossil 01 - Lesley Dalton