Steve Talbot: philosophical Toys

14th Nov – 8th Dec 2018


Assemblage and collage are challenging because anyone can do them. We all have a certain point of reference, and we might intuitively put odd things together to make a satisfying object. The minute you take different pieces and try and put them together into an entity, they are transformed.

Collage and assemblage allow the artist to explore simultaneously the mysterious spaces between high art and popular culture, text and image, figuration and abstraction, past and present, two and three-dimensional space.

Boxes fascinate me. Toys, gifts received has a child, cowboys and Indians, model trains etc. came boxed in packages with plastic window fronts displaying the treasures inside. The Idea of the box as receptacle derived originally from a desire for containment: a way of trapping those echoes of memory and atmosphere which are perhaps the springboard for my work. In the museum where I work, objects are displayed in a vitrine, a glass paneled cabinet or case for displaying articles such as china, objects art or fine merchandise. My intimate boxes and assemblages are presented as treasured collections, fossils of memories, that begs the questions who, what, where? My inspirations range from the Age of Enlightenment and the Eighteenth Century to ceramics, literature and place.

I aim to pursue beauty in the commonplace on a scale respectful of the found objects and ephemera’s small and unpretentious character.

Edmund Burke in his influential work  ‘A Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful’ singled out ‘smallness’ as the first consideration in defining the nature of the beautiful. In short beautiful objects are small objects. Burke also observed that certain degrees of smallness rival greatness of dimension of proportion in their ability to induce wonder and awe.