Colchester globes exhibition offers plenty of ‘surprises’ artist says
“The enemy of completion is if they end up back in my studio,” he says.
“An artwork is never finished – they just have a logical conclusion.”
Mr Teather’s latest work is seeing three globes go on display across Colchester – as well as one being placed in Hollytrees Museum, there is one in Colchester Castle and another in Lion Walk.
Perspective, space, reflection: the artistic concepts encapsulated in these artworks open a door to seemingly endless considerations – and the globe never looks quite the same as the previous time you look at it.
The globes mirror their surroundings – or at least, they do so in a loose sense.
The reflection is not meant to be a perfect representation of what surrounds it, as there are plenty of what Mr Teather describes as ‘surprises’ scattered around them.
Mr Teather even manages to make a cameo himself in the works, which are on display in Colchester until January.
One senses artists’ ideas for new works and exhibitions are never formed completely; the very nature of the idea as something protean means they are in a constant state of flux and evolution, even whilst the first strokes of paint are applied to the canvas.
Mr Teather says the idea of the globe was hatched ten years ago, but it was during the pandemic the idea truly developed.
“I cooked up the idea for this in lockdown because it was at a point when we were reflecting on things that had gone on before the pandemic,” he said.
One such reflection for Mr Teather was his connection with Colchester; long before the pandemic, he had written for a publication, Green Pebble, an arts review magazine based in eastern England.
“I used to review the different art collections when I first moved to the eastern region,” he explained.
“I did a review of Colchester, so I came here and just went around the museums – I managed to explore Colchester in depth through that.
“I had a relationship with the place – Colchester just seemed like a natural place to do it.”
Gaining an idea of the globe’s surroundings involves several visits to a location and taking hundreds of photos.
Based in Norwich, it meant Mr Teather could travel to Colchester easily if he needed to take another look at the intricacies of a certain space.
“One of the reasons I’ve based them in the eastern region is because I can revisit the place; it’s a couple of days of notes and research.
“I do a couple of visits normally, and take hundreds of photos in that time.
“It’s question of working out if I understand the space well enough – I’m still spotting things.”
As Mr Teather explains, central to the exhibition is understanding the space and depicting it through the globe’s reflection.
“It’s the journey of the thing, only there is no fixed viewpoint,” Mr Teather says.
“Once the paint is on it, there are things that can enhance it a bit.”
The two doorways in Hollytrees Museum are reflected rather differently, for example – one features clouds, the other stars.
In between the doorways is a poster advertising a public appearance of former Norfolk Church of England priest, Rector of Stiffkey – only the rector died in 1932, and the date of his public appearance at the Royal Albert Hall is set 490 years in the future.
Similarly, the grey carpet of the Hollytrees Museum is replaced by a stained wooden flooring, something Mr Teather playfully describes as “a design suggestion.”
“There’s an unusual oddity to them – they are quite an unusual thing, particularly so when they are in situ,” he said.
“Over time, I decided it would be a good idea to hang them where they are because they add a sense of curiosity to where they are situated.
“Some of the stuff acts as a counterpoint compared to what you would see in a museum – there’s a character who has got a beer bottle next to him.”
Indeed, part of what makes you come back to the paintings again and again is their randomness, each inspection allowing you to approach the globe from a different perspective.
Despite the artistic concepts which Mr Teather explores in the works, however, he says the globes are not necessarily angled towards those with specialist backgrounds.
“But they are meant to me accessible – there is a conceptual element to it but they are meant to be enjoyed and that’s something I was aware of,” he said.
Young or old, cultured or not, the globes are looked at the same way in which they were created – through perspective.