Steelworks, Sheffield: 1978-84

These were works done in the studio at home based on a series of photographs I’d taken in three different sites: River Don Works; Firth Brown and Hadfields in Attercliffe, Sheffield. completed works were shown at the University of Sheffield’s Arts Tower Gallery [1979] and work was purchased by the Planning Department of the University and by private collectors and  members of the public. They were large scale and worked on with oil and pastel. These drawings were purely obversational and I saw the work as generally ‘keeping my hand in’ as I worked on them only at night; I recalled the work the Vorticists Jessica Dismorr and Helen Saunders, especially 'Balance' [1915]. 
I had a growing family at this time, so the form of the images was limited to impressions and observations only. It was currently in vogue to take up 'Art and Industry' type of projects in Yorkshire and I got some funding from the then Yorkshire Arts Association in Leeds.
I worked towards Marxist notions of ‘form’ following ‘content’ [rather than the other way round]; I was concerned about being overly expressive at first – but only after two years into the work slowly allowed myself to consider pure form as the primary motif in the work. Even then, I considered the works constrained, and my liking for Hegelian aesthetics ruled at this point in time. The work bonded me to romantic notions of idealised masculinised workforce in industry opposed to a Ruskinean view, but this occurred because the steelworks were on the brink of disappearing historically at this point in time.
The aim overall was to ‘capture’ something before it disappeared; it was a humbling experience but certainly one I never gave sufficient time to. The work moved increasingly into abstraction and had to stop at a point where it was evident that I could not take it further without it becoming Formalist in its entirety, which I considered self indulgent and decadent. Many artists had created motifs of the impact of industrialisation far more holistically. In retrospect it was naive of me to have taken it on as a project compatible with my other circumstances; I could not do this vast subject justice!

Oil and oil pastel on canvas: 100cm x 120cm
Oil and oil pastel on canvas: 90cm x 110cm
Collage with acrylic and metalic enamal paints: 80cmx 110cm
Oil on canvas- painted in situ.60cmx 90cm.
Oil Pastel on Paper; 70cmx 90cm
Oil on canvas, 70cm x 90cm
Oil pastel :60cm x80cm FOR
Drawing of Firth Brown Yard. 80cmx 100cm