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Yesterday Niamh helped me prepare for the visit of the local art college to the studio. We made a list of questions staring from
my development as an Artist on leaving college?
how I got to no.72 as an Artist in residence?
why I wanted to do the residency?
did my ideas change from my original proposal?
what artists influenced me/ sources of inspiration?
why did I chose to use sand, peat and stone?
how has my interest in art in the environment developed?
how has the space allowed me to develop my work?
what am I going to do for the last few weeks/ after the residency?
how important is documentation of art work/ environmental work/ nature based work?
how important is the process?
what are the benefits of the residency, having a space, keeping a blog?
Through my research I have found some new artists such as Strijdom van der Merwe who is a South Africian artist working with nature. His works are also based in the enviroment and he uses natural materials from that environment
“His materials – sand, water, wood or leaves, for example – are determined by the chosen site, or the materials themselves might suggest a site. Van der Merwe is brave enough to intervene in the processes, colours and forms of nature which are more than capable of withstanding our scrutiny alone. Intervention, however, is perhaps too strong a term to describe the impermanent alterations the artist makes, since his work is always subject to change. He “observes the fragility of beauty, while not lamenting its passing”, and “acknowledges the poignancy and pathos in its transience”. This is not wholly a surrender to the inevitable processes of nature, but also “a reminder of the capacity, however feeble, of an individual to alter the universe by embracing the ceaseless changing of nature, actively contributing to it”. The forms and structures Van der Merwe creates often produce tension in the precariousness of their construction. Small rocks are balanced atop sticks which protrude from a pond, their forms perfectly repeated in reflections below. His works are often untitled, simply accompanied by a description of what was done to achieve them.”
In my work I am realising that I am trying to avoid the inevitable, that is the decay and death of the environment. I am only realising this as I look at the work of other artists. I was really concerned with preventing the daffodils from dying so this presented a challenge for me. The end result was not exactly what I had envisioned although I did manage to prolong their life somewhat. Maybe I shouldn’t have picked them from the field but instead use the environment in which they grow. I will explore this idea fully when I leave the residency.
Urs Twellman is a Swiss artist who often cuts apart and resembles natural materials.
“Urs-P. Twellmann could be described as an “Art-in-Nature artist” or maybe even more accurate as an “On-the-Road artist”. He most often works away from home and creates his installations and objects in response to invitations from exhibitions, symposiums, galleries, sculpture parks as well as for his own challenge. In each case he draws his inspiration from the material he finds on each location, the place itself and last but not least from his tools. The results are always new and surprising.
Parallel to objects and installations out in nature he also creates indoor sculptures which are mainly characterised by the masterly use of the chain saw.”
Spheres are a major part of his work.
I found myself attracted to the sphere, it is the basic shape that we can make with our hands , it is a shape that comes so naturally to us. People who have visited the studio have asked “why the circles and spheres?” and i didnt really have an explanation except that it comes so naturally.
Robert Smithson is a land based artist. I came accross his work when I was studying in NCAD. I am returning to ideas and interests that have been dormant since then.
I came in this morning and noticed that the grass is growing. This is amazing as I was in the studio over the weekend to water the pieces and there was no sign of green. This is very exciting! I noticed little green shots growing from the hanging piece too. I can’t wait to see them completely covered in green grass.
Today I decided to experiment with bubblewrap. There has been a huge roll of it in the studio since I started the residency. I want to make work that will use the wall space too but the peat and paper isn’t really working out. I tries a small square of bubble wrap and filled each bubble with peat. This is a really slow process and it took me the whole afternoon to complete it. It looks like a beehive structure. I am thinking of growing some seeds in each bubble too.
The window is attracting alot of people into the space. This is encouraging as people want to know what is happening and will ask questions. Many people have asked if I am growing shamrock as from a distance the mustard does resemble it. This is something I might consider to grow.
I set up a propagater lamp to encourage the grass seeds to grow. I made a mound of peat and grass balls. Hopefully when the grass grows, the roots will hold the peat together and I can experiment with hanging them.
The peat and paper piece in the corner is attracting insects. There is a woodlouse already in residence nibbling away at the mustard and cress. Maybe I should call it Artist and woodlouse in residence!!
I started to make moulds for the ceramics tree-like sulpture. This will speed up the making process as I spent last week making six coil built bases which seems to take ages.