Southwark Psalter

This is a selection of paintings for a show of the disassembled book the “Southwark Psalter.”  I want to share the work before it is bound.  The catalogue for the show can be found here.  The idea has been woven together from a number of strands, reflecting: the creation of an artwork as a act of veneration; meditation on place and time; acknowledgment that people interpret and comment on the world through a number of paradoxical lenses, their actions polluted by everyday considerations, and; a wish to produce a personal art work, modest in size but grand in conception.

Psalter 30. 2016-2

The title of the work is Southwark Psalter, reflecting my link to the London area of Southwark; it’s people and history.  I call it a Psalter, as it is a book collecting both spiritual and non-spiritual ideas reflecting on human nature and how we try to make sense of the unknown, and sadly often using them to control and exclude others.

The pages of the Psalter are handmade and are a mixture of calligraphy of written texts which are superimposed over one another.  The writing is made with Indian ink, which is sometimes also used for colour.  The rest of the colour is made with artists gouache and gilded with 24 carrot gold.  All the pages have a border which is not apparent here and are painted on “hot pressed” Arches Aquarelle Watercolour 150 gms paper.  The book will be bound so there is only one image on each side.

The work takes the form of a book or codex but I wanted it to be more than a summation of individual works and not a narrative.  On a more prosaic level, I am interested in the idea of the personal nature of art and the idea that you could “pick up” the exhibition and carry it off under your arm.  The democratic nature of this appealed to me, paradoxically I found a wicked pleasure in making something precious and unique (not a commodity) which by its very nature is not accessible to everyone.

The form of this work reflects back to past movements, it’s not an attempt to mimic or reproduce or replicate or rein act some past art form.  Instead it takes some of the materials, utilising modern equivalents and steps off from there.

© Simon Jones 2018