We live in a world obsessed with image. What we look like, what our clothes look like, houses, cars… I like to counter this obsession with superficial appearance by using X-rays to strip back the layers and show what it is like under the surface. Often the integral beauty adds intrigue to the familiar. We all make assumptions based on the external visual aspects of what surrounds us and we are attracted to people and forms that are aesthetically pleasing. I like to challenge this automatic way that we react to just physical appearance by highlighting the, often surprising, inner beauty.
This society of ours, consumed as it is by image, is also becoming increasingly controlled by security and surveillance. Take a flight, or go into a high profile courtroom and your belongings will be X-rayed. The post arriving in corporations and government departments has often been X-rayed. Security cameras track our every move. Mobile phone receptions place us at any given time. Information is key to the fight against whatever we are meant to be fighting against. To create art with equipment and technology designed to help big brother delve deeper, to use some of that fancy complicated gadgetry that helps remove the freedom and individuality in our lives, to use that apparatus to create beauty brings a smile to my face.
To mix my metaphors, we all know we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, that beauty is more than skin deep. By revealing the inside, the quintessential element of my art speculates upon what the manufactured and natural world really consists of.
Working with x-rays is dangerous. So safety is paramount. Nick has built a bespoke concrete structure to contain the radiation. This building that appears to be a black box is where he now creates the vast majority of the x-ray work. Inside the black box are several different x-ray machines and a film processor.
The different x-ray machines have varying outputs and capabilities. The x-ray machines consist of a head unit that emits x-rays and an electronic control that drives the head unit. The head unit is inside the area built to contain radiation, the controls outside. Subjects to be x-rayed are placed on a lead floor or wall. Film is placed under or behind the subject. The x-rays that emanate from the head units pass through the subject and make an image on the film. That image is exactly the same size as the objects. If an object is too large to fit on one film, several are used.