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Peckham Heads

mixed media and mud on board 
diameter 23 cm each

Notes on this work

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Call any object a head and it may be read as such. We have, it seems, a special part of our brain function dedicated to scanning the human head which is perhaps why we are all inveterate headhunters. We decipher stains in the walls, interpret strange stones on the beach, construe the chance deformation of an old tin can, conjuring from accidental shapes the human head: as infants the face is our first template of recognition.

Peckham is rich in faces, reminding one of the Jewish blessing when confronted by human oddity, 'Thank the Lord for making his creatures so various'.

This work is an extension of A Walk to the Studio made over twenty years ago from chance finds on the streets of Peckham and Camberwell. One of these, the stop-box-cock-lid (the proper term accoding to the Thames Water Authority for the cast-iron fittings that still, after seventy years of unchanged design, decorate our pavements) is featured in this group.

Each of the heads is set in Peckham mud on a roundel made from a wedding cake support, the first of which used came from our own wedding cake: the others, cakeless, were ordered from the same supplier.

Sacred and Profane / Drawing to a Conclusion (1997),  p. 11.