It's been a while since I've written a blog post. 2019 has been a slightly challenging year health wise which has thrown me slightly, but I’m fighting fit and ready for a productive 2020. Creatively my main priority has been to make, experiment and develop my work and keep a strong hold on the authenticity of my practice. As I look through the timeline of the work I have produced (Instagram is such a fantastic tool for this https://www.instagram.com/carol_sowden/!) over the year I'm pretty chuffed at how things developed throughout 2019. As a process led artist, with each experiment and making I naturally move to another stage making my work very transient and ever changing. It’s not only the aesthetical side of my practice that reflects ephemerality; the sense of decay and renewal, I also view the practical side of my making as a constant mirroring of seasonal changes.
The winter months always tends to see me retreating and honing in on more paper-based works. At the beginning of 2019 I concentrated on trying to develop work that had a physically lasting presence. Experimenting using liquid clay and charcoal on paper, the main theme of this work was to capture the movement and flow of liquid and its subsequent mark making potential influenced by the flow of streams and becks within the landscape. During July these clay and charcoal works developed into larger works embracing length and height after visiting Stainburn Forest with the rest of the TCL Collective. Through these experiments the gesture of contact became an important factor; the contact of surface against surface, matter against matter and the ever-running theme of ‘connection’ that runs throughout my work. This developed into work visualizing carefully manipulated and harnessed marks made by the flow of organic matter and water compressed between paper surfaces.
As ever my ice work continues with a move this year into working with colour and incorporating the flower heads of vibrant cut flowers and plants. This influence has come from a need to bring my previous life working in the flower trade into the fore. Some of this work has surprised me and generated such great interest and is at present a main theme I am developing. The need to size up on these ice sculptures is something I am working on at present alongside the recording of their melt through time lapse filming. The mark making potential of the melt water from these works is also something I am harnessing and working on the production of paper-based works. The importance of solely producing work that has no intervention from any other man-made ingredients and is purely ‘organic’ continues to run throughout the work I produce. These limitations do keep me focused and gives me confidence as to the authenticity of my practice.
I'm planning on showing the development of this colour-based ice project as part of a collaborative exhibition with Paula Hickey https://www.paulahickey.com/ at Number Six Gallery in Pateley Bridge in August of this year.
I have decided to be more selective and more practical in the opportunities I apply for in regards to exhibiting at this present time. Every application these days seems to demand a fee for application and that’s even before you may have been luckily chosen. Other opportunities demand a payment for being in the exhibition. Careful consideration is needed to determine whether opportunities are worth my while; the logistics, the overall exposure etc. With everyday costs spiralling things become difficult to sustain. I suspect a lot of artists have the same arguments with themselves. I’m grateful for the social media and the exposure and interaction this offers; something I never dreamed of saying years ago!! Oh how times have changed!!!