In this blog I’ll be discussing current and past works along with noting down the ideas and possible future works that stem from each.
Reviewing my artist statement…
Current statement on website:
My practice is predominantly concerned with investigating the relationship between the physical world and the world of text.
In our digital world we are bombarded by increasing amounts of information via text on a daily basis. In my exploration of the gap between the perception of text and the reality of it I attempt to uncover visions we have locked away in words and phrases.
I believe that art, in mapping society, can wake us up, not only to reality but also to our dreams which, through art, can become real. I want to create imagery that uses and explores and is relevant to everyone’s imagination and dreams.
The investigation is often realised through an engagement between a word, phrase or body of text and another medium such as paint, print, mixed media, collaboration, video, installation or a combination of these methods.
This is where I am with the new edit:
Catherine is an artist working with words, using conversation as the root of new work; playful yet political. Her investigation is often realised through an engagement between a word, phrase or body of text and another medium such as paint, print or site-specific performance, installation or a combination of these methods.
Keywords: Dreams, social infrastructure, communication, grassroots activism, site-specific, words, text.
Places of interest: library, water-fountain, footpath,
I work with text in part due to my contrary nature, if it is difficult for me – I want to do it. And I find writing (for most purposes) nearly impossible. Text is simply too over-stimulating.
What to do with the form of text that sends me into a tailspin?
a) Ration it.
b) Record conversations on audio and video.
c) Use different source material (video & audio).
d) Research through images, video and experience. (How limiting is this really?)
e) How far can conversations alone go?
f) Could conversations stand alone as practice?
g) Why is text so addictive?
I’ll be considering for next time:
Limiting my source material to direct experience, video, image and audio is tempting. Why?
And pondering the idea of whether conversation can stand alone as practice.
Well I’m drawing plantlines – attempting to follow the contours of plants in various media (paint, pencil, pen, etched). Sometimes a single line across the surface, at other times multiple lines travelling from left to right, overlapping, yet starting one below the other.
Today it’s been strawberries in watercolour first in my sketchbook, the left side over existing painted marks and then onto the clear white page. The next was with a sharpie pen around a disposable coffee cup.
Hundertwasser believed the straight line is ungodly, my first middle school teacher banned ruler in art (pretty standard for art I guess) and a later art teacher didn’t appreciate my messy way.
I think I can do away with the straight line in my work. Plants don’t tend to be this way, I am not this way, life is certainly not a straight path. Driving from here (Abergavenny) to Aberystwyth is basically a rollercoaster of a road, and my travelling over the surface of the earth is rarely in a straight line, even though I sometimes try to be efficiently going in a direct line. This straight line causes problems. I think I know where I need to go, but life has other ideas. When I try the direct route, I am almost certainly going wrong and not paying attention to my surroundings. It is too easy. There is no benefit.
Curveballs abound all around me now.
I am in the midst of grief over the loss of my brother Stuart. The two brothers left are coping, I hope, but it is difficult for all of us -we’re reeling from this as is the whole family. I can feel my head physically occupied in trying to process what’s happened and unable to remember much new information. And there are many moments it hits me in the stomach or chest as a pulse of memory. Trying to keep up with work and supporting each other and being there and being supported back. Seeing more of family than ever.
I have fairly political ideas and ideals coming to the surface as I work on plantlines and write this:
STRONG GRASS ROOTS
REACH HUMAN(E) POTENTIAL
SAVE THE POST OFFICE!
COMPULSORY LETTER BOXES
The way people do things – e.g. sell eggs outside their house, signs for ‘local honey’ – which you can follow and find a cottage, press the bell and get honey straight from a beekeeper (or family member) and those bodged together things. Hmmm. I absolutely love.
I have just done one of those facebook clickbait bits of fun: what job should you have had and it came out with FBI agent. I feel like I need to be an agent to understand myself and life. How far will I go to figure out myself?
Artists Hundertwasser, Guy Allott, Peter Liversidge particularly appeal to me.
In drawing plantlines – am I looking for a message outside of myself? Am I missing a point? Does it need to be more ‘something’ (not sure what this is) to resonate?
One of my approaches is to draw an ‘honesty’ line, a ‘strawberry’ line, ‘mixed (plant type)’ lines and on with other plant names. I have also been drawing the contours at the Clydach A465 roadworks and considering drawing the plantlines of plants under the trees in the Gorge.
So – is the fact that it’s a contour line or that it is a plant line the most important aspect?
Yesterday went to the Costain roadworks site with Liz Morison at Clydach Gorge to see the site from the inside. We went out on site in safety gear.
Continuing my drawings and etching of plant contours, Plantline, I etched the contours of the landscape into a small prepared plate. This is currently line etching in Copper Sulphate.
We were in the midst of working machinery with the A465 behind us and the green hills of Clydach rising steeply in front of us. One of the many new bridges was being built up and later we saw the foundations of a sweeping footbridge over the gorge – Clydach footbridge.
Liz was collecting soil and other debris for her work.
I got photographs and footage of people working on site, in particular focussing on where people touched the land – feet and the machinery moving the soil.
1000 exciting words
(started for lost library. Intending to keep list with current most exciting editing as I find new additions)
gems of Clydach
Gave out little gem lettuces to people of clydach as conversation starter to get first hand stories of the area. Especially interested in what activities people do on the land. Very pleased to discover a real – long distance walking shepherd.
Lost Library at Fringe Arts Bath
Considering the inevitable changes our libraries are facing, I’m looking at the issue of declining libraries and librarians with an attitude of being aware of what society needs in these institutions before they are completely lost to us.
In this installation& performance I displayed statistics of library use on a large chalkboard laid out like a century old stock exchange.
Below these figures I asked the question ‘what dreams stem from reading books’ and ‘what is essential in a library? ‘
For this performance I wore a pin stripe suit and strode from the railway station in Bath to the venue at New Bond Street each performance.
Whilst on site I talked to visitors about the issue, played the part of the ‘lost librarian’ in registering people and giving new members one word from the lost library catalogue and their membership card.
Ideas stemming from this performance:
-> Keep editing and updating the 1000 word catalogue
-> The chalk display board could be displayed alone. (Purpose: conversation starter around library culture)
->Dressing up as an investment banker. No nonsense. A transformation possible, perhaps short back and sides and transformation as a performance.
->Lost Library installation – like a theatre set.
->Library figures ticking over mechanically, flip display boards.
->Chalk the 1000 words around an urban landscape.
->Wrote and typed lists: Habits of successful librarians, investment bankers and artists.
(habits lists, could extend to other professions and create a catalogue, be an employment agent.)
->Also thought about having sign saying ‘Looking for work – speak to me’ sign and be an agency with real work of some kind (could be very particular work. Maybe pointless but I actually pay for it. Not in my nature for it to be pointless, some kind of industry)
->Filled jars with exciting words
->filled jars with honesty (word typed and seeds)
->could respond to the words written by visitors about what is essential in a library.
Linda Vista 170510 drawing
Fig Tree etching
Honesty line 170618 drawing
Artist in conversation video series
This has paused while performing Lost Library at FaB and adjusting to working full time. Currently have three videos awaiting editing.
Really need a mic!
Possibly upload to Instagram Live
I need to add more descriptions to my profile and the video descriptions to make it easier to be found.