'These poetic, magical works present a Utopian global order, unified by a common aesthetic of culture and harmony.
Using collage, found materials, in paint, photography, print and text the artist has created maps in which only the outlines of the continents are familiar. Within oceans and land masses, images rise to the surface or are obscured by near-transparent veils of paint, resin or cloth.
The erasure and partial obliteration of images and texts suggests transience and the loss and longing implied underlines the elegiac mood of the show.
Dickens gives us fleeting glimpses of moments of extraordinary visula beauty. Some images recur across several works- a wrought iron mounted street lamp, for example- and the repetition provides visual echoes and unifying rhythm.
In 'Beautiful World', place names have been painstakingly applied, especially around coast lines, inviting the spectator to mediate on the language and culture of the named locations.
The Juxtaposition of found materials, (like costume jewellery or indian embroidery) with photographs and texts, provides the spectator with a rich source from which to create diverse personal interpretations.
The loss of cross cultural exchange, through the artificial imposition of national boundaries, is used as a mataphor by Dickens for the destruction of the natural world. Images of threatened species of butterflies, as well as the skeletons of leaves and paintings of plants, are scattered across the surface of the maps.
Dickens' gentle and romantic vision is a timely reminder that divisions of race, class and belief can be transcended.
Gillian Davies. 2008