Clearing and Cleaning

Through time, and with use, objects become imbued with memories. To tidy them away is to erase the past.

Over the past few months, artist John Carroll has been making a series of still-life drawings based around the kitchen table at his home in Manchester. The table tends to be a focal point in the house, he says, a place where all members of the family offload whatever they have in their hands at that particular moment. It is always in a state of flux.

Recently, John’s wife’s father died and they have been dealing with the aftermath: emptying his house, clearing, cleaning, and organising. As a consequence, they have acquired a number of his belongings – books, crockery and ornaments. These too have found their way onto the kitchen table from time to time.

The works are black and white, charcoal on paper. The table forms a stage, spotlit and suspended in the darkness. Each object takes its turn upon the boards in a slow and rhythmic dance, whose significance we can only begin to guess at.




















Image credits (top to bottom): Clearing and Cleaning; First Table Study; Critical Mass; Gift; Clean Unclean; The Unwrapped; Clearing and Cleaning; Mr Muscle and Grandma’s Horses; Eight Hours; Arcadia.

All charcoal on paper.

Part of The Learned Pig’s Clean Unclean editorial season, March-May 2015.


The Learned Pig