"Perhaps the land sings? Hymns from the ocean, anthems from the mountains, love songs, eulogies, dirges... in voices beyond logic but heard in the bones. It is ourselves we hear, taking the habited and inhabited earth for a sounding board that amplifies the mute ripples of pleasure and anxiety that are always with us seeking concrete objects to latch onto."
Shorthand Notes From The Spirit, Vicki Goldberg, 2009
Ideas of form dissolve in Guy Dickinson’s photographs of the megalithic henge at Avebury. Instead it is the tiniest variations of texture, tone and surface that endlessly hold the eye. In these tender visual fields, where entire landscapes can be found in the space of a few square centimetres, the viewer encounters the unexpected intimacy and softness of geology - a geology that appears to be not fixed but delicately fluid.
In a departure of emphasis for Dickinson, technical complexity underpins this series of photographs, not for complexity’s sake, but as a means of experimenting with new expressions of atmosphere and place. Each of the twelve finished works is a composite structure, produced by layering seven separate exposures from three or four individual megaliths. The use of a range of lenses means that multiple scales as well as subjects are embedded within each interleaved image. At once abstract and concrete, they solicit engagement that is both cerebral and powerfully visceral.
In Julian of Norwich’s Revelations of Divine Love, the medieval anchoress details a vision of a hazelnut lying in the palm of her hand. ‘I looked upon it with the eye of my understanding and thought, ‘What may this be?’ And it was answered generally thus, ‘It is all that is made. ’ I marvelled how it might last, for I thought it might suddenly have fallen to nothing for littleness”.
One of the enduring characteristics of Dickinson’s work is his openness to both the grand and the granular. There is no risk, one feels, that any detail will ‘fall to nothing for its littleness’. This is one of the many reasons why, for the duration that we look, we feel we are seeing in a different way.