8 years of international activity as a performance artist in the middle and late 1970s, solo and together with Dirk Larsen as Reindeer Werk, trained Thom Puckey in the expressive possibilities of the body in space and in its relational abilities. In particular: the bodily event as sculptural image. This early work can still be seen in the work he produces today and, especially, in his use of live models for his sculpture and photography.
The anatomical detail in his controversial marble sculptures, the sometimes aggressive poses featuring firearms of potential deadly effect, refer obliquely to classical sculpture, but the diverse contrasting languages of high and low culture disorientate as much as they they fascinate. Indeed the choice of 'noble' materials like bronze and Carrara marble is almost subversive with respect to the various connotations of Puckey's content.
During the initial production phase of one of these sculptures, several posing sessions are required to determine and establish the position of a figure and build the initial work in clay. During these sessions Thom Puckey takes a great many photographs, snapped from every angle and of every detail, to establish the bodily expression and to assist in the course of the making process. So it follows that the artist treats each model as a true performer in two senses: in that, with her body, she incarnates a living, unexpected form constituting an expressive possibility, and in that she is an actress playing a role, lending her face and body to an idea which is otherwise unconnected with her.
This methodology is followed through in his many black and white analogue photos, where the model is performer and démonstratrice in complex long-exposure photographic takes. In contrast to the marble sculptures, Thom Puckey uses the particular and unique possibilities of analogue photography to pursue imagery where the violence of appearance and sacrality flow over into each other, through and through.