As an artist emerging from Edinburgh College of Art I had hoped there would be a plethora of contacts and opportunities I would be able to take advantage of, as I had seen in previous years. The current situation has undermined all I had ever wanted to gain from my studies and graduation. There are thousands of art students graduating this year without a degree show, without the public exposure that would act as the first step into the art world. Some support has been offered by the various universities but nothing will compare.
I had dreamt of my degree show for years. In the weeks just before lockdown I was psyching myself up for the final push; the hours of hard labour, the sweat, blood, and tears. The staying in the studio until they chucked you out. The eating pot noodles and endless cups of coffee. The challenges of construction, presentation, and safety. The pure joy I would find in the creation of my vision. The art, always the art.
We have all been separated from our passions. This would have been a time to thrive but now it is a time for mourning. I walked past my university campus a couple of weeks into lockdown and found myself crying. The community has been fractured, the art has been locked away, and working from home is unreasonable. I am in limbo.
As a sculptor I cannot create right now, I can only imagine. Drawing is one way of imagining and became more integral to my practice. They already drove my decision making in terms of layout and scale.
In this situation, knowing there was no way to have closure, all I could do was reassure myself that it would have worked. I turned to model making and frantic scrabbling for materials in order to create this vision in miniature. The result was more of an approximation as it was only after its creation that I produced a full layout and plan for the work. The images, however, form a translation of the experience I was aiming to produce. It would have been a full experience and emersion in the installation, with the visitors activating the space; the ripples of water gently eroding the blocks over time.
“The damp solid ground with all potentials drowned, still holds old seeds and still dares to dream.”
– Extract from sketchbook writings, 2020.
Although this work has not had the exposure from the degree show it has found other ways to be disseminated. The work Built on Soil, 2020 has been featured in the a-n Degree Show Guide 2020 with a full page spread and other works have been displayed on Instagram platforms such as @sadgrads2020 and @quarantinedreams2020, with more to come. Today is the launch of the Edinburgh College of Art Graduate Show, which showcases my work and the amazing work of my peers. So please click here and go have a browse.
A new solo exhibition of works concerning line, edge and translation featuring the previous work ‘Set in stone?’. Combining sound works, writing, drawing and both kinetic and still sculpture, ‘LINE.EDGE.TRANSLATION’ aims to fully submerse the audience in an experience of the senses. Lines are everywhere; through words, images, objects, sound waves, thoughts, vibrations etc and this is a celebration of that.
Sat in a room full of lines,
Listen to them move, to them grind,
Watch as they form in the space,
Imagine their shape, their pace,
Where one ends a break.
In the centre of the room sits ‘Material Information’ an interactive work that invites the audience to turn the bent wire forming a live animation in a shadow on the wall behind. To the left hangs two drawings in light and cable translated from original drawings done in a performance lecture. The original drawings where performed by peers who where told to draw a line that took five minutes. Halfway through the performance sound intervened the awkward silence changing the drawing techniques. The sound being from talks and lectures it had a thoughtful tone to it. On the right of the room lies a deconstructed version of ‘Set in stone?’; it lying on the side of its pedestal. Between this and the projected line of ‘Material Information’ hangs some experimental installation work examining the repetitive and everyday action of peeling an orange and the line this creates.
Continuing with my previous themes and expanding on new methods of casting has led me towards a more defined practice. My current work questions the materiality and relationship between humans and the natural world. Working with themes of environmental change and through the use of man-made materials my sculptures create a false sense of landscape, questioning our impact and relationship with nature in the current climate. The title “Set in stone?” illustrates these themes and questions the viewer’s position.
Paper, as an overused synthetic material, is familiar in all its forms, however, here I am drawing attention to the disused and discarded, the wasted, in a grounding and solid object. As an everyday material it is easy to overlook its abilities to hold and convey the smallest of information, whether through writing on the surface or using its materiality to shape an object, in the case of origami. To crush paper is to fill every inch of it with that moment’s information. This almost natural crush or crinkle is so often seen in a range of materials as a defect labelling it as rubbish to discard. The natural shape unworthy of use.
‘Set in stone?’ – 2018
‘Set in stone?’ – 2018
‘Set in stone?’ – 2018
‘Set in stone?’ – 2018
The introduction of colour into my work has allowed it to move away from the initial association with the blank sheet of paper that it reflects, and bring a new perspective to the work. It is then that the work will stand alone. Blue lakes and movement of water began this change, but ultimately the idea of the lack of water drove my decision for the colouring of “Set in stone?”. Sandy yellow, a representation of dryness, dunes, dust, and sandstone. It takes on other connotations too, the surface of a foreign moon or planet, otherworldly landscapes formed in the mind.
The edge; something a landscape shouldn’t have. Dropping away harshly into seeming nothingness. This effect deepens the weight and tome-like nature of the piece; like the Rosetta Stone baring coded information it presents a mystery and a challenge. Within this natural code forms come; geometrical shapes, triangles for instance, that appear as they do in crystals from an outside force. Here the force was a peer who I handed the paper to, taking some of the authorship away from me. This, to emphasise chaos and unpredictability in the process.
I find the city at night to have an eerie kind of peacefulness. The lights and colours seem decadent, illuminating deserted shops and buildings. I took these on new years eve and managed to catch a couple of fireworks from the top of the crags in Edinburgh.
Following on from Linescape and considering some of the same themes, “Connections” is an artists book with a sense of discovery and playfulness. Each disc or ‘page’ is 15cm across making this book very large and weighty. This brings an earthy, grounding element to the work, which compliments the subtle links to landscapes and the natural environment.