It has been an extremely busy but fulfilling few weeks. My friends Mel Dewey, Paula Hickey, Sue Wright & Ann Barrass from the MA course and I have come together to form an artistic collective. There are many reasons why we have formed this group:
A brief revisit to some materials I have previously worked with Clay & Charcoal. There is a large clay belt that runs through an expanse of Harrogate, the clay used here is excavated from the land in my back garden. It has been refined down removing all stones and debris to form a smoother paste like mixture. Charcoal is raw pieces of wood taken from on outdoor fire crushed into a powder.
It is the tactility of the pressing process the hands on delicate motion the rubbing of the paper and the way different motions create different marks that form the patterns seen above. The addition of charcoal dust into the mix makes for much contrast. With each piece of work the revealing of the unknown textured organic patterns the viewer is enticed into observing closer and 'finding' something else within it. The Rorschach test comes to mind:
The inkblot test (also called the "Rorschach" test) is a method of psychological evaluation. Psychologists use this test in an attempt to examine the personality characteristics and emotional functioning of their patients. This test is often employed in diagnosing underlying thought disorders and differentiating psychotic from non-psychotic thinking in cases where the patient is reluctant to openly admit to psychotic thinking. (http://www.theinkblot.com/
As the world changes within the grip and influence of the digital era it is always exciting to find a new word that describes this futile resistance.
The way we now exchange data about ourselves, revealing private, intimate, thoughts and feelings within an abstracted network of Internet users.
Intimacy is something that is no longer preserved but shared to everyone. It is shared in all directions in an eccentric movement. Intimacy turns into 'extimacy'
The closeness and physical attachment of intimacy is being lost within society. That realness of belonging and close relationships is slowly diminishing as we rely more and more on social networks to communicate. As individuals we live in the grip of a world that is fuelled by how many 'likes' are received for each post on Facebook or Instagram, how many 'friends' (or ' frienships 2.0' as socialist call it!) we can accumulate. The majority of these friends are not 'real' friends in the true sense of the word they are virtual acquaintances. Facebook etc develop language that is used in a context that fuels individuals to think they 'need' to belong to these social platforms.
To celebrate the Park's 40th anniversary and mark the forthcoming publication of Andy Goldsworthy: Projects (Abrams & Chronicle Books), we are delighted to invite the internationally acclaimed artist to return to talk about his work, influences and 30-year relationship with YSP.
Goldsworthy first worked at the Park in 1983, and returned throughout 1987 to make ephemeral landscape-based work across the seasons in a project called Parkland. In 2007, to mark YSP's 30th anniversary the artist staged a remarkable exhibition of new work in the Underground Gallery. As part of that show, he made three major site-specific stone works that can still be seen in the Country Park and on Oxley Bank.
Don't miss this exciting and rare opportunity to hear one of the most respected and renowned sculptors working today, in conversation with YSP's Founding and Executive Director Peter Murray CBE.
I was extremely privileged to have the opportunity to attend this event recently. Andy Goldsworthy has been one of my biggest influences as an artist. He rarely does artist talks so it was fantastic to have this chance to see and hear him talk about his new work. He spoke about current projects , his return to Yorkshire and referenced his new film 'Leaning Into The Wind' Within this film he consciously revisits some of his extremely fragile and ephemeral work produced through the use of his body as a tool for making and expression. The physical possibilities of using himself in order to do process/performance driven work he rethinks the way we encounter our surroundings and alternative ways of physically experiencing the organic materiality around us; walking through a hedge instead of the obvious path, walking within a torrential rain soaked landscape and falling from the force of the elements, using the force of his mouth as a tool for instant expression (see pic above). It is quite apparent that as we get older we begin to asses how we physically exist within the world; our capabilities, abilities and mortality. I myself are experiencing a similar thread of thought at the moment and having always been drawn more to Andy's ephemeral work as apposed to his permanent sculptural pieces work. Work that is transient only remaining for a short period of time always been the most interest for me. His 'Rain Shadow' pieces are something he has explored for many years but his highlighting and reference to this work on the evening has left me much to think about.
In the event of rain or snow Andy takes himself off and lies on the ground. This he has done in many parts of the world rural as well as urban. After the rain has stopped he rises from the ground and watches the template of himself slowly disappear as the contrasting dark rain soaked ground defining the outline of his body dries. He in effect disappears before his eyes; very science fiction in one sense but also deeply moving in another.
Such a sense of presence and non presence, the fading of a person that was once there, how quickly this 'shadow' disappears. It highlights how much we take life for granted and how in the blink of an eye we can no longer exist.