Documenting my projects up to 2012

Moving, 2006

Moving, 2006 at M+R gallery, London E2. Drawing and moving image of animals and birds in motion from films. The collection of stories included 3 birds - a cockerel, a pheasant and an unidentifiable flock of passerine birds in the city which were drawn from Carry on... Follow that Camel, Gosford Park and Spiderman II respectively. The 8 animal stories featured a cow, a camel, two horses, a giraffe, a kangaroo, a dog and an elephant which were drawn from O Brother Where Art Thou, Hideous Kinky, The Misfits, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chocolat, To Kill a Mockingbird and Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind respectively.

The work was the result of time spent ruminating on the quiet animal presence in film and the treatment of the animal therein.

The project began with the shooting of a pheasant in murder mystery Gosford Park – the only death in the Moving series. Other moments are tinged with pathos: birds flit unnoticed through a Hollywood blockbuster, a boot is thrown at a cockerel, a dog has its legs pulled from under it to simulate a shooting, a horse struggles at the end of a rope and a cow is run over in a car chase. A camel, a kangaroo, an elephant and a giraffe make cameo appearances as magical props, solidified memories and imaginary beings.

Like Harper Lee’s mockingbird repeating its stolen repertoire, eleven tales are witnessed and played out continuously in pencil and paper. This archive of animal locomotion references Eadweard Muybridge’s eleven-volume work Animal Locomotion of 1887. Notable not only for his decision to include elephants and camels under the ‘domesticated animals’ heading along with pet dogs and cattle, Muybridge’s publication also features his studies of ‘wild animals’ displaying irregular walks and restricted movement symptomatic of their long confinement to pens. Whereas Muybridge was also willing to dissect his subjects in order to understand them, I observed them at a distance within the confines of time and film.

The subjects of the drawings in the Moving series are sourced from movies in the artist’s collection – a menagerie to study on a shelf; animals found in unexpected places. Some studies document silent suffering, humiliation and death, while others document triumph over adversity, dignity and the beauty of animal locomotion.

During the private view a television, on which the dog animation was being shown, died and one of my horse animation VHS tapes was chewed up and eaten by a VCR.
I previewed this series at the Zoo Art Fair 2006 with M+R Gallery. A review of that year's show was previously found at

Meredith Etherington-Smith wrote on 15th October 2006: 'Speaking of lions, animals were a major theme - perhaps inspired by the fair's location at the London Zoo. There was Margarita Gluzberg's exquisite, magical realist drawing of a nightingale at London's The Great Unsigned gallery (whose director is Zoo co-founder Soraya Rodriguez); Polly Benford's exquisite flick-book series of pencil-drawings of elephants and other animals at the M+R Gallery (London); and Scott Mcfarland's huge porcupine drawing at the Union gallery (London).'

Horse, The Misfits 1961 was drawn from the wrangling scene in The Misfits. After being forced to the ground, the horse springs back to her feet. It's a heart-breaking scene and I decided to draw the positive moment when the horse asserts herself against the wranglers.