Peak Hollows

5 03 2012

Paul Dobraszczyk, 'Peak Hollows', 2012, coloured paper and sequins.

Hollow between two gritstone boulders on Kinder Scout.

Man-made hollows carved into the gritstone on Stanage Edge. These hollows, each of which is numbered, were created as drinking troughs for the moorland grouse.

Circular hollow near Monk's Dale in the White Peak. These man-made hollows were created as drinking troughs for sheep.

Natural water-filled hollow formed in the gritstone on Kinder Scout.

Abandoned hollow above Monsal Dale in the White Peak.

Natural circular hollow in the gritstone on Derwent Edge





Circles

24 09 2009

Stone circles, Crackington Haven, Cornwall

Stone circles, Crackington Haven, Cornwall

When we see a circle, we immediately perceive a sense of completeness – not because of its mathematical properties, but because that completeness is already inherent in the shape itself before any analysis is brought to it. The circle is also a container for a number of powerful metaphors: enclosure, the womb, heaven, sky, safety, security, unity, infinity, return. More concretely, certain places suggest circles or roundness, particularly mountains and beaches. In these places, the making of a circle with found materials provides an opportunity to ‘contain’ the overwhelming scale of the natural world, to enclose its endless horizons, to trace unseen centres; in the words of Gaston Bachelard, in his celebrated book The Poetics of Space, ‘images of full roundness help us to collect ourselves … and to confirm our being inside’.

Stone and driftwood circles, An Teallach, Scotland

Stone and driftwood circles, An Teallach, Scotland

Driftwood circle, Hole beach, Cornwall

Driftwood circle, Hole beach, Cornwall





Ladhar Bheinn

9 09 2009
Ladhar Bheinn, 2004, oil on canvas

Ladhar Bheinn, 2004, oil on canvas

The Knoydart area in Scotland exerts a fascination for walkers. Undisturbed by roads and virtually uninhabited, this rocky peninsula is only reached by boat (from Mallaig) or by foot. Walking in, after reaching the end of the longest single-track dead-end road in Britain, one enters a lush world of Caledonian pines, high bracken and fjord-like valleys. Rounding the headland before reaching the hut at Barrisdale, Ladhar Bheinn (Larven) comes into view – a great castellated semicircle rising high above Loch Hourn. Its remoteness lends a magical quality to this first view and in the subsequent days of walking and resting, I revisited it many times.

This scene indelibly prints itself on the memory, at once a place of openness and freedom and also a place enclosed, a circle of walls, a secret place. The hidden centre of the mountain offers a stable, still point around which turbulent forces coalesce: the unceasing movement of the sea, the rapid shifts in weather. Colours delineate the relationship between stillness and movement, between hidden centres and unseen continuities expanding out beyond the field of vision.

Ladhar Bheinn circle

Ladhar Bheinn circle





Aleppo

7 09 2009
Aleppo, 2009, charcoal and watercolour on chalk and ink

Aleppo, 2009, charcoal and watercolour on chalk and ink

Syria’s second city, Aleppo (Halab) vies with Damascus as the oldest continually-inhabited city in the world – as long as 8000 years. It’s old city has long-since burst out of its once-walled confines and now merges into the surrounding newer development, creating a richly undefined palimpsest of ancient and modern. Like a series of concentric circles, historical time radiates out from the city’s massive hilltop citadel: from the grid-plan of the medieval covered souks to the impenetrable geography of the Bayada quarter in the northeast. Tracing the convoluted city plan, one relives the twists and turns of the old city, where all the senses were engaged and the mind frustrated, but now with a sense of quiet calm and detachment that comes with the view from above.

view of part of the old city, Aleppo, Sept. 2008

view of part of the old city, Aleppo, Sept. 2008








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