University College for the Creative Arts
Apollo degree show 2006
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Noumena, 2006, paper, steel & graphite, 3.0 x 6.0 x 2.3 m (approx)


John Corfield

Artist Statement

The thrust of my work is the expression of ideas through a variety of media, particularly sculpture, drawing and photography.

My principal interest is in form and materiality and the interplay of these in three dimensional constructions.

Trained as a physicist, I am essentially analytical in my approach but this analysis is suffused with the delight in abstract concepts and a love of colour, texture and form in the world about me. These latter inform the intuitive aspects of my art which I am endeavouring to develop and exploit.

Throughout my professional life as a physicist I have had an interest in perception, particularly as it might affect the ability of the viewer to detect diagnostic features in medical images - cf my MSc thesis (1). This interest surfaced many years later in my Dissertation (2) which helped to clarify the direction and intent of my work. In this, the coexistence of theories about the neurological basis for the detection and imposition of form by us on the world and the experience of being in the presence of sculpture resonated with me at a profound level. In essence, it is the experience of the formlessness of texture and material substance allied with real and illusory forms that informs my art.

The absence of obvious colour in my work does not mean a lack of interest in it, but rather stresses the underlying fascination in it and the delight in finding subtle nuances in the colour of the materials used in the work. In the same way the inclusion of unformed elements in my work is, as Bataille writing about l’informe explained, that by avoiding recognisable form I am stressing form’s importance, it like colour being present by its absence.

The ideas I try to express are predominantly dichotomies between ‘disjoint’ 3 concepts and include inner world/external reality and form/materiality. They are attempts to present irreconcilable, opposing elements simultaneously. Whilst they are quite minimalist in their appearance and explicable as explorations of form and materiality, my works also have a metaphorical interpretation as an expression of a personal view of reality.

1 Corfield J R, 1970, Statistical Considerations in the Visualisation of Count Density Changes in Radio-isotope Scanning, MSc Thesis, Aberdeen University

2 Corfield J R, 2006, Phenomenology and neuroscience in the awareness and perception of the form and l’informe of sculpture; as exemplified in the work of Robert Morris, Anthony Caro, Tony Cragg and Jim Lambie, Dissertation for BA(Hons) Fine Art, University for the Creative Arts, Canterbury

3 ‘disjoint’ : mutually exclusive, having no elements in common