‘Oysterland’ at No Format Gallery, Deptford, London SE14, August 2022

We don’t know where we boldly go…

How do you travel without a destination? 

You go to a London mainline station.

You get on the next departing train.

You get off after half an hour.

You are somewhere on the fringes of London, in suburbia, on the edge of Oysterland in the places no-one dreams of going.  In places where the station staff say ‘the best thing to do when you get there is to get a bus somewhere else’.

The artists of HB Drawing made these journeys for nearly two years inspired by Laurie Lee’s epic trip – As I walked out one summer’s morn. The rules we followed for this project created a space between the unknown and the familiar. We didn’t know in advance where we were going or, even when we were on the train, exactly what we would find when we got there. But we knew there would be a distinctive ‘there’, a personality; and this personality would demand a response. And each of us responded in a different way. There was a magical seduction in the unknowingness of the day and what the journey would bring.

We are now walking the Capital Ring. This is in some ways precisely the opposite kind of journey: we know exactly where we are starting, what route we will take and where we will end up. But we find ourselves in the same psychological territory, between the unknown and the familiar, the everyday streets and the well-known landmarks. We are confronting again the personality of London neighbourhoods.

The work coming out of these trips reflects our intuitive, instinctive responses to the unknown and unexpected, mediated through our existing individual interests. 

The work that has developed so far develops the ripple of water, reflections, light and shadow, the geometry of buildings and the anonymity of streets and everyday places, the way nature intrudes into any unkempt space, and manmade structures intrude into nature.