“Part of Mike Collier’s practice involves curating walks for groups of people, often with the natural historian Keith Bowey; walks that are also collaborations – slow-moving, meandering explorations of urban ‘edgelands’, those marginal and often unsung places where rural and urban coincide. The shared information recorded when ‘botanizing on the streets’ with participants is layered intuitively into the fabric of his abstract paintings and drawings constructed back in the studio. Text is important in the architecture of Collier’s work; the familiar unfamiliarity of vernacular names, dialects of birds and plants once known but fleetingly remembered, hinting back to the specificity of places and their ecological frameworks.
Recently, Collier has embarked on a collaboration with the Wordsworth Trust, working closely with the manuscripts of William and Dorothy Wordsworth (both inveterate walkers, whose walking is often vividly portrayed in these manuscripts). In the prints here (Daffodils 1 & 2 and Good Friday 1 & 2), he works simply, directly and intuitively over the image/text from the journals of Dorothy Wordsworth, responding not only to the words on the page, but to the place the words describe. He has walked these landscapes she describes many times over and understands them well.
MS JJ is a key ‘text’ in the history of Romanticism. The manuscript looks ahead to William Wordsworth’s “Two Part Prelude”, a poem with many references to Wordsworth’s extensive habit of walking and its importance in helping him to make sense of his life and art – indeed, it could be argued that this is where the West’s culture of walking began.”