'.....that was worth stopping for....a moment of calm in my busy Saturday.......'
The above was an instant response to an image of one of the frozen forms I have recently been developing. It highlighted similarities to the beautiful film below by Tom Welsh & Narrated by American Conservationist Bob Marshall. I was struck how the Alaskan wilderness and my ice forms generated a pure and exquisite aesthetic.
By embedding body and mind into this wilderness natures spectacle is observed as a unity. This wilderness is free from mechanical sights, sounds and smells. External thoughts are forgotten. Any thoughts of what it/the landscape resembles is not even contemplated. For the time the spectator looks he forgets his own world there are no questions about what it looks like or the personal gratification. The viewer forgets his/hers own soul. There is only one sensation left to feel; 'exquisiteness'
The Alaskan Wilderness is a far removed from my ice forms but, these forms do convey so much aesthetic beauty. The exquisite ice patterns that form within the ice are stunning. The matter held within the ice generates such a contrast of ethereal light and dark they enable the viewer to' loose' themselves within its essence.
My work experimenting with the freezing method is now developing and I am exploring the making of teardrop style frozen forms that encase/hold materials within them. At a recent crit, a fellow MA student mentioned the similarity of the work to the semi precious stone of Amber. A fossilised tree resin Amber holds within it insects and detritus of the time it was formed and has been used as a decorative object since Neolithic times. It is the encasing of a moment in time, forever, that is fascinating about the material.
In contrast, by freezing the detritus within a frozen form is only encased during the time the water is frozen. The melting process releases the materials from within it. These challenges are ahead of me if I am to move forward with embracing this most precarious and beautiful of processes. #ice #challenges
'I am inspired by the rich sensations of living and dying life. The crunching of pine needles beneath my feet. Decaying leaves under the muddy surface of a puddle. The lichen that is inseparable from its stone. I believe stories are held in the landscape.
I explore to understand. I understand by exploring. I take my own photographs and use them as collage material, layering the surface to build an image. I cut into the photos because I enjoy the tension of the pieces reassembled. It’s like a kaleidoscope, or a fractured lens that I twist until the image forms. I shake up the images to rattle the eyes into a different way of seeing.
I believe in the power of displacement, how the process shows us things we may have overlooked. When we become aware of all the subtleties around us, we open a new world into ways of seeing' (Kate St Clair, http://stkatie.tumblr.com)
'Wallow' Ice spheres melting over canvas in gallery by Kate St Clair
I have been drawn to Kate St Clair's work through her use of the freezing and defrosting method. Her introductory statement about her work also interested me as there are many similarities to my own practice methods. The contrasts of life /death, the 'understanding' through exploring the 'displacing' of things to make us look at matter in different ways, facilitating the 'seeing' of things/materials in an alternative I order to help us become aware and more appreciative.
The work seen above is an installation of collected debris and pigments frozen into spheres and left to defrost over canvases within a gallery/exhibition space. The content of these spheres eventually becomes amalgamated onto the canvas as over time the 'frozen' liquid defrosts. This is something similar to what I have already been exploring; frozen pigment defrosting over paper. Kates work contains more depth and narrative through the collected pieces within the spheres. My concerns at present are the 'water' content and the' freezing' method as an aesthetic. The defrosting represents the 'fragility' of life/materiality.
She also plays around with the time aspect of the defrosting, the movement and performance the detritus within the forms play out as they move collide and fall. This is recorded through a time lapse video; something I need to think about!
MA Creative Practice