As contemporary culture accelerates, peripheral vision has narrowed and attention spans have diminished. As a quiet resistance to a rapid-image culture, ‘Observations’ is a body of work made over an eight-year period investigating a slow process of attunement – a training in attentiveness. Paintings and prints document indeterminate aspects of landscape – aerial perspective, gradation, transient events, finite measurement and indistinct atmospheric phenomena. Exploring an intimate relation to distant things, these works record the sensitive magnitudes of human perception.
FIELDWORK Q&A – December 2018
How is fieldwork part of your practice?
Fieldwork was central to the body of work ‘Observations’. Through close study a detailed collection of painted swatches were developed in response to specific landscape sites – features, situations, panoramas, skies, meadows and forests. The compositional structure of each work was also made in relation to a physical experience of the field. When the sites were re-visited this detailed reference material allowed the observation to be made in a very brief span of time – in the present. The specific time, date and location of the field site is cited in the title of each work.
How would you describe your fieldwork activity?
‘Painter in the Landscape / Landscape in the Painter’ – for me, going into the landscape was an outward movement to observe distance. Remoteness was not general or sweeping, but a kind of intense focus. I noticed subtle shifts and recorded distant details – my relation to the landscape became defined by flux, notation and memory. I wanted to live amid remote sights and atmospheric latitudes. Here, the faraway was not a function of detachment but a situation of expansive connection.
The remote remained unresolved, resisting the confines of certainty. Mist, cloud, dust and air were not supplementary constituents but the basis upon which my engagement with remoteness was established. The remote held distance, it gathered atmospheric density – a depth that obscured and revealed. Being neither wholly earth-bound, or atmospheric, these ‘-scapes’ operated in a mode of physical slippage.
How are you currently sharing your fieldwork?
Developed in response to the subjects, experiences and sites I was working and living in, aspects of the fieldwork I undertook were used as formal working processes. In some residency settings these outdoor/indoor, field/studio, working methodologies were shared within an open studio environment. Fieldwork is deeply embedded in all the Observations work – systems, frameworks, atmospheres and content. In terms of a shared activity, the fieldwork I undertook was not collaborative – it was a personal response, an individual present.