George Duckett - 'Ox Herding Pictures'

Wednesday 1 - Saturday 18 June 2022

Ox Herding Pictures is a reference to a series of ten pictures traditionally attributed to Kakuan, a 12th century Chinese Zen master. The images and accompanying poems have been used as a an analogy for Zen training since Chinese antiquity. Chi-Yuan wrote in the 15th century, describing their meaning was like attempting to draw a square circle.

They are drawings on board deliberately using a restricted palette, media (paint, graphite, ink) and motif. The forms are stencilled using the discarded support of an unknown architectural model. This seemed like the perfect analogy for 'isolation'; every day presents as the same day but if fully engaged, each day had a nuance and an energy that belied the apparent repetition.

Duckett's intention was to construct images with a surety of hand and lightness of touch like taking a photo or a brush and ink painting. The images that mirror this intent are the rare exception. Mostly working backwards and forwards, media on and then off, until something emerged that was of interest. Stencilling and the repetition of form enabled a planar construction; the two dimensional surface becoming a shallow three dimensional arena for the motifs to speak. They have become an interim language or building blocks, a sporadic journal of days.