My Degree Show

Alan Higgs - June 2004

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Artist’s Statement

My work was inspired by a newspaper article in August 2003. It was about rats being the ultimate survivors, breeding prolifically to now outnumber the UK human population despite centuries of mankind’s attempt to eradicate them. This caught my imagination and initially I explored this theme.

I was also inspired by living artists such as Katarina Fritsch and David Falconer, both using rats in their sculpture.

Coming from an engineering background, during the 70’s, I was fascinated with traps and amassed a personal collection of vintage traps. I admired their ingenuity and the blacksmith’s talents at manufacturing these objects.

Being an animal lover, I find the cruelty aspect of these traps barbarous. Most of these traps are now illegal to use. The pole trap was outlawed in 1904 and gin traps were banned from use in 1958. By collecting such objects I took them out of circulation ensuring they would never be used again.

My paintings attempt to capture the beauty an ugly rusty object can display, the ergonomics of the mechanism and shapes unlike anything else. Although a rusty object there are nuances of hidden colour to challenge the artist.

The genre is “Still Life”. I explore the properties of the materials and textures and the play of light on the objects creating a simplicity and directness.

I have always admired Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin’s work (1699-1779) (Gory game paintings). He had the ability to evoke tactile sensations in his work.

I have created a tension between the literal dangerous nature of the object and the beauty of the painting.

The word TRAP can convey many things akin to life itself. “Life is a trap”… “Love is the tender trap”…”Entrapment”

This body of work can be a play on these meanings; Have I trapped you, the viewer?

My body of work consists of eleven paintings, oil on canvas . Two 1500 x 1170 and nine small works 300 x 225

Three photos taken of the show hung.

The space available was very good.

Scroll below to see the paintings up close.


My Postcard, hover with mouse to see the back