Traces is a set of one hundred handprints of ordinary men, women and children taken from across the social spectrum.
The genesis of the work lies with those stencilled hands deep in the recesses of dark caves made at the very beginning of our attempts to understand and reconstruct the conscious world. The handprint is a primary source and the unique trace of another human being. Those early hands could, conceivably, have contained the genetic blueprint for any one of us.
Durham Art Gallery
Each hand print is a primary mark using oil on paper and each is framed and measures 46x46 cm. The 100 pieces can be displayed in any ‘factors of 100’ format. There is an accompanying catalogue that outlines a personal yet anonymous history of our times, represented through age and social condition.
"In referring to those hands I hope the work points to our biological history, our common ancestry and the similitude of Humankind. It has also to do with our search for meaning and leaving our own unique place within the world"
From accompanying catalogue
Photograph kindly loaned by Professor R. Layton, Department of Anthropology, University of Durham
Work in the studio, Durham
"When I first heard of the 'Traces' series I was naturally very excited by the concept, by its humanity and by its historical associations. But I was, I confess, confused as to its place in his oeuvre as a whole. That is, until I saw them.
Nothing I had imagined prepared me for the startling impact of the pictures themselves. Each radically different, each still a part of a whole, each utterly beautiful.
The series as a whole, the one picture in a hundred parts, is in my view a major achievement, intellectually, aesthetically and morally. In it, humanity speaks to humanity in its oldest language."
John Molony, Former Chief Executive - Federation of British Artists