This is probably my final post for this project – it seems a bit weird amidst all that is going on. However, my plan was to share some final images and thoughts on my installation in ‘Fool’s Gold’, my two person show with artist Pamela Schilderman at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum that closed on Saturday 14th. It’s difficult to think about anything without thinking about you know what – so my summary is a bit about that too.
Together ‘Cairns’, ‘Quadrats’ & ‘Winter Blues’ created a landscape of artificial organic forms or ecological instruments, with pathways in-between. All of the works were made predominately from discarded materials I found on the streets around my studio, or that have been collected for me. Where possible they are made in a way that they can still be recycled at a later date, if I wish – considering the environmental legacy of my works is an important part of my process.
The ‘Quadrats’ framed ‘Cairns’ or empty and barren spaces. The quadrat grids are a cord I have made from red plastic bags. The red cord is a recurring element within my recent works – binding and connecting contradictions. Traditionally quadrats are laid down horizontally. Within the ‘Fool’s Gold’ environment they hung at different angles challenging our perspective of our ‘natural’ landscapes.
I have been thinking a lot about the barriers we put up to protect the non-human from the human and vice versa. That feels particularly relevant now as we protect ourselves from each other. ‘Winter Blues’ is a poetic assemblage, made from a plastic bag, parts of a second-hand Christmas tree, and a lantern made from aluminium cans with rechargeable LED lights. It could be seen as a bell jar or green house, but the nature and light it nurtures or shelters the viewer from is unnatural.
The installation was about what wasn’t there, our connection to nature and ultimately each other. As the pandemic crisis unfolds it feels like we are already reassessing what is really important. Let’s hope the positive elements of this crisis are long lasting.
I will use these strange times to reflect on what next. In the future (a normal one) I will take the ‘Quadrats’ and other discarded materials back outside, on expeditions. I will frame natural urban spaces or different communities through the perspective of these materials. I will experiment with sound and scent too.
Right now though, I think it’s time to take stock of what it means to be an artist. How and if this role is valued? Should this role be valued, and if so, am I utilising it in the right way?