Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Hollow Gound

Ever since I had a house extended and talked to the bricklayer, I have been an observer of walls. I have to say his bricklaying was excellent. It put the rest of the house to shame. The courses and joints were regular and  even. So these days I look carefully at bricks and their joints, searching for true artistry. So there's my tip of the day, go look at a wall.

Anyway. Closely Observed Walls:

This rather artistic display of good mortar and truly awful 1960's bricks was, until a few years ago, holding up the A34 at one of the bridges in Newbury. I don't know where they got the bricks but just look at the state of it.. I had noticed it decaying for some years and eventually decided to get this picture in 1998. The result was this almost abstract arrangement of lines, light and shadow.

Fast forward ten years to Durham (the Cathedral that bans photography) and walk down a side street, where you will find a sandstone wall that is going the same way: This is a much more organic experience, but just as concave..

Finally: Down by the canal in Newbury there is a historic town house with a nice set of graffiti carved into the bricks at shoulder height. I have visions of workmen leaning against the building waiting to be paid, and scratching their marks*

What nicely shaped letters. Look, proper serifs. Aah, you can't get good graffiti these days. Where have all the artists gone?

*Actually, you see quite a few bricks with inscriptions around Newbury if you look at walls enough. We have a "Kiln Road" and "Clay Hill" so I think we might have had our own brickworks. I wonder if these marks were actually put there at the brickworks ...

1 comment:

  1. It's a long time since I visited Durham Cathedral but I still have the photographs I took there. I'm amazed to hear that they don't allow photography, and even more surprised that they don't follow the example of other such places and make a charge for it (and stipulate that it must be for private use only). Such a ban would mean that I wouldn't go in, and any spending that they might have had from me would not go their way. Very puzzling.

    I'm enjoying the posts Pete, particularly your wide range of approaches to image making.