England’s Dark Dreaming is a testament to the power of art, a book that exists as a portent of the future and a remembrance of the deep past. This book offers us passage to the edge-land, all are invited to cross.
Comprised of twenty four charcoal drawings; life sized figures in their original form, the project came into existence between 2016-2018. A period of two tumultuous years in British History.
It’s a powerful alchemical work that operates simultaneously on a number of different planes of engagement. As a ritual artefact, it shares the genius of its creator, artist Paul Watson.
England’s Dark Dreaming is an act of mythological resistance, that reminds us of older stories and our true connection to the landscape. It uses folklore and storytelling to communicate complex ideas of belonging that so often illicit humans to become possessive, rather than open and inclusive.
The artworks within are portals, through which one might engage in an act of scrying. Reconnecting with mythic archetypes as old as the landscapes that hold the British people aloft. Characters you know are waiting. Numinous figures you are just as likely to have met in the corner shop as on the rolling green hills of Albion.
One of the most powerful and compelling components, is that the drawings in their entirety share a lost narrative of a ritual that births the odd and other truths of our Albionic heritage. A mythic history that is far more strange and beautiful than we could ever imagine. This books offers us entrance into the dreamland of Albion via a ritual, the crossroads and a procession. Leading us to the shoreline, back to the waters that sustain us.
The components of the ritual called Paul and I together. Armageddon Gospels , my second feature explores the same locale and is haunted by the same Genius Loci.
Both works share the same landscape. The Long Man of Wilmington, the crossroads, the same procession and shore line. The same Gods and Goddesses. Paul and I are brothers in dream, just as the glorious David Southwell and Ian Cat Vincent and no doubt many others are. This island landscape is home to a mongrel nation of great beauty. We are England’s dark dreamers, forever entrusted by our ancestors to know that this landscape belongs to all who find themselves shipwrecked upon its odd and eerie shores. Albion is a place of dreaming, it is unbounded. No limitations can be placed upon this myth and those who come from the realm of dreams do not respect the divisions of the flesh, of meat and bone. In dream we are one.
To speak of a work of profound magnitude, in mundane terms does it a disservice. I want to be honest about what this book evokes for me: my deep connection to this work, is as a talismanic book, a magical tome. Paul Watson is a master and I cannot wait to explore what he conjures next.Books EnglandsDarkDreaming Folklore Paul Watson Reviews