Together (15 works)
In this series I'm trying to explore the modest goal of regenerating public space and being, in a real sense, a good citizen of the commons. I'm thinking about a handful of my intellectual heroes: the urbanist Jane Jacobs, the sociologist Richard Sennett, the philosopher/novelist Iris Murdoch, and the psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl.
The thread linking these disparate folks is a concern for civility, uniting the head and hands in work, and beauty as vital to the life lived well.
More personally, the series expresses a longing to embrace—as opportunity, cooperation, fellowship—the human throng in public venues, rather than to flee from the clamour and confusion and be alone. Did I mention I was a lapsed Catholic?
The works mark, I hope, an appreciation for such qualities as grace and sprezzatura, the Renaissance concept for a lightness of manner and indirectness of communication. They consider unselfing rather than individualism as paths to freedom, perhaps a more Old World, Catholic-Jewish-Muslim outlook than Anglo-Saxon Protestant.
Visually, Stephan Andrews has crept in, especially in the use of CMYK colours and effort to make art both manually accomplished and thought provoking. The feel of street life in Italy, where I lived in 2015-16 and whose messy public culture I struggled to manoeuvre, especially with young children, carless, and even if my own background is Italian has also slipped in.
So long as people crowd in and both irk and exhilerate me, there'll be more to come. In the meantime, why not pick through the images I've completed so far and let me know your thoughts,
even especially the uncivil ones.