Output to Paths

Simon Cottrell’s pieces can tease and confound our perceptions. We can think we have their measure – they are mechanical, structural, perhaps a little cerebral; perhaps less than friendly – but then an incongruous lump on the underside of a brooch, known only to its wearer, can suddenly evoke intense tenderness. The scuttling, tight awkwardness of a brooch can set the heart fluttering with anxiety. It pays to look twice, to look closer. The complexity, and evidence of painstaking processes behind each piece, encourages us to engage at a level deeper than a mere sweeping glance. Familial relationships and awkward tensions between and within pieces seek to arrest our attention and create a space for contemplation.

It isn’t always an easy companionship we share with Simon’s work. It can deny us easy access and require real focus: this is its challenge and its reward. As Simon says, “these pieces are not conceived to be made clear sense of”. In accepting the challenge to really look, at some point we become self-conscious in our looking. Immersion leads to self-awareness and to the jolting sensation of active engagement: looking itself becomes a creative process.

Katie Scott
July 2011