your footprints are the only road, nothing elseAntonio Machado
Details from Shadowline. Ink on taffeta, 1,300 x 150 cm
Shadowline, painted en plein air, captures the wind and the shadows of trees simultaneously. Ink on taffeta, 1,300 x 150 cm
EMBODIED LAND: YET TO COME
The focus of this series of shadow paintings entitled Yet to Come is on those who’ve inhabited the land in the past, and the people who will follow. It introduces a phenomenological aspect to my work and forms part of my investigation into what Robert Macfarlane calls ‘becoming better ancestors’ in our guardianship of the land. The full-sized and wearable clothes are hand-sewn in Japanese paper and painted en plein air to capture the fleeting, moving shadows cast by trees.
Yet to Come. Ink and salt on Japanese paper, various sizes
In devising the soundscape for Yet to come, I was inspired by John Cage’s 1948 composition In a landscape which he created to be both heard and danced. My paper clothes of those who are yet to come mould themselves to the breeze, the saxophone and the birdsong. The mood is designed to be contemplative, even mournful, but not comfortingly pastoral.
RIDGE AND FURROW PROJECT
This project includes works which have been folded, creased and overlapped. They’re shaped by the Medieval method of ploughing the fields called ridge and furrow. The land is cut into and turned over, making a zig-zag profile in which the buried becomes visible and the exposed is concealed. The project includes my folded artist’s book Ridge and Furrow as well as a porcelain installation Fotminne which takes on the imprint of the secret tracks of the Elm beetle, etched into the underside of Elm tree bark.
Barley Field. Dye transfer, charcoal and oil pastel on folded, creased and overlapped Japanese paper, 60 x 70cm
Roots. Dye transfer, charcoal, conté and oil pastel on folded, crumpled and overlapped Japanese paper, 70 x 80 cm
Dusk. Dye transfer, charcoal, conté and oil pastel on folded, crumpled and overlapped Japanese paper, 60 x 80 cm
RIDGE AND FURROW: AN ARTIST’S BOOK
Ridge and Furrow: an artist’s book. Digital print on Somerset paper with book cloth and board, 1,100 x 30 cm.
The twenty-one page book is designed to focus the eye along two different planes. If viewers walk in one direction they will see the sky filtered through wild grasses. If they turn around and walk the other way they will see dark undergrowth at ground level.
Fotminne. 300 pieces of hand-moulded porcelain, 1,200 cm. (4 x 2 cm)
Each piece of porcelain is hand-moulded from the inside surface of bark from dead Elm trees. Elm beetles, which have killed the tree, leave traces as they tunnel unseen behind the bark. Fotminne, the Swedish word meaning to ‘remember with your feet’ or ‘foot memory’ has a double meaning in this work: the beetles’ own foot prints which the bark has remembered, and our own embedded memories as we look at a landscape which has changed irrevocably. Much of this change has been going on ‘behind the bark’ while we weren’t looking.
Walking Sticks. Hazel with gouache and white graphite. 60 sticks, each approx. 48 x 2.5 cm.
The sixty pieces of hazel represent increments of time. The sticks are inscribed with botanical drawings of what’s known as the ‘Wood Wide Web’ – the mycelium fungal system which lies beneath the ground and acts as the trees’ own mutual communication and support system.
WET PLATE COLLODION
Barley. Ambrotype, wet plate collodion on glass, 13 x 10 cm
Barley. Tintype, wet plate collodion on tin, 13 x 10 cm
Miner’s compass. Tintype, well plate collodion on tin, 13 x 10 cm
SOUS-FACE: VIDEOS AND SOUNDSCAPES
These videos and soundscapes inhabit land and sea at ground level. Seen from this perspective and combined with my composed soundscapes, the land is defamiliarised. The viewer is asked to look anew at surface and what lies beneath: the sous-face. The soundscapes are eerie, even threatening at times, evoking that sense of dislocation which can come when we look at things from a different point of view.