On The Surface

On The Surface
1 – 29 April 2015
Photography printed on glass, driftwood, screws
The Jam Factory, Hollybush Row, Oxford, OX1 1HU

The On the Surface series of works was first exhibited as part of a group exhibition, Oxford’s Sea View, in 2015. The work draws on Mayhew Craddock’s interest in the personalised nature of decision-making, of pathways in art and life, and the way that one’s environment can dictate direction. Mayhew Craddock has developed an interest in sea over the past few years – intrigued by the moon, magnetic forces, the seabed, and tides. The idea of greater forces being at work dictating behaviour on the ‘surface’, and a path on the surface that most are totally oblivious to both fascinates and frightens the artist who views elemental forces as offering great personal perspective. 

Frequently drawing upon Lacanian theory Mayhew Craddock is interested in the layered nature of understanding, this is represented in this series of work through isolating the surface, allowing viewers to consider what lies above and beneath the sea’s surface and how that surface is influenced by wind direction, daylight, and other weather conditions in turn dictating pathways on the surface. In short, the work is a visual allegory for the necessity of, and the difficulty in, gaining a 360 degree understanding to fully comprehend a situation, and make informed decisions as a consequence.

This series of works places emphasis on the mystery, force, beauty and changing nature of the sea’s surface, whilst also inviting the viewer to acknowledge the enormity and influencing factors of what lies beneath and above. The images were taken of various seas, mainly around the UK, most of which the artist photographed from a kayak or boat. Interested in idea that the glass was once sand that has been on its own journey, and attracted by the opaque quality of the print of the sea, with its relationship to sand, on the glass the artist set this printed glass into driftwood that was beachcombed on the northern coast of Scotland. Mayhew Craddock was attracted to the idea of this once landlocked organic matter, driftwood, adapting to its environment – once a tree, then perhaps made into a fence-post, only to find itself being taken by the tides, bobbing on the surface of the sea, later to be washed ashore, gathered up and re-purposed acknowledging its brave life-cycle.