Things have been a bit quiet here on the blog for a wee while. This is because we’ve been rather busy here at moderneccentrics and there is going to be lots going on over the next month. The first thing we’re launching is our new book of Ross’ work.
Covering the Artefact series, which started in 2015, the work currently consists of four groupings – Nest, Adornment, Implements and Receptacles, the 60 page book documents its ongoing development. I designed the book using my photographs of these beautiful and sometimes fragile pieces, and below is my introduction to this work, originally written originally for Ross’ solo show at the Packington Gallery in 2019.
The book is available to purchase directly from us for £15 plus £3 postage and packaging via PayPal, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. It is also available to buy at the new Prism Exhibition ‘In Search of Possibilites’ at the Art Pavillion, Mile End, London.
‘When we think of some of the wondrous archeological finds made since victorian exploration, we are only seeing half the story. Stone tools, embellished scabbards and golden filigree work has survived the test of time, but anything made of more transient materials has long since decayed and disintegrated. If we could travel back to these ancient settlements, what would we discover? This is the question prompted by ‘Artefacts’, a series that began six years ago and continues to evolve.
Much like the inhabitants of these ancient sites, Ross Belton works with the materials he finds around him. Local resources and a sense of place are key to both sustainability and minimising his artistic footprint. Influenced by his African childhood and the traditional crafts and techniques of Japan, his art embraces flaws and explores the beauty and history of these resources. The raw materials lead the work, and in his hands they are retrained, twisted and woven into something new. Without a final endpoint, he is free to let the work evolve in its own individual way.
The pieces are created with found objects and natural foliage, both homegrown and gathered through changing seasons along the towpath. Sweet-peas grown on his balcony, root balls from pot bound plants and New Zealand flax from the front garden become nests and baskets. London Plane tree leaves collected from a local street in autumn became fragile receptacles. Rusted and corroded metal became jewellery and adornments.
Seen together here for the first time, this series – Nest, Receptacles, Implements and Adornment, has made me reconsider ‘what is beauty?’ Finding worth in discarded materials opens up a world of possibilities for the artist. Ross’ inventiveness, curiosity and dexterity transforms materials that are frequently overlooked. They form their own visual language, emphasising the beauty of these transient materials. By reimagining what may have been lost to history from our prehistoric ancestors, Belton helps us open our eyes to the beauty in the urban environments in which many of us live today.’
Images and Text © Jonathan Dredge