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Extended Artist Proposal

Extended Artist Proposal

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‘One and Tree Chairs’ is an ode to the complexities of being present in the moment and is a concept that has grown from a walk in a woodland and the rejuvenating experience that the rhythms of walking in Nature gives me.

Researching trees and their place in our cultural heritage in Scotland as well as in The Gambia, will enable me to further my understanding of my relationship with trees. Continuing with my themes around well-being and environment, I anticipate that my work will continue to have a sculptural and visual outcome. At a spiritual level, trees enable us to become aware of our connections to self and I aim to examine the role that being present has with these processes and to use my blog as an online sketchbook for my ideas.

‘One and Tree Chairs’ will be an exploration of my own thoughts and responses to the trees and to Nature. For the purposes of this project, the definition of a chair will be less an object with four legs for support or a rest for the back and arms, as it will be symbolic of something which encourages a passer-by to pause and to consider their surroundings and how they are interacting with them. Primary and secondary research carried out for my dissertation will be made visual in my art practice.

I will investigate various techniques used in working green wood, joining one piece of wood to another as well as determining which woods it will be possible to apply to the task. Time will be spent being physically present within a woodland or viewing Nature from further afield. Landscapes, habitats and vistas that elicit or influence an emotional response will be translated into sculptural forms using a range of mediums. Collaborating with the science department and exploring the potential of using microscopic slides and film of plant and tree cell structures will add layers of interest to the pieces created.

The definition of what makes an environment “natural” changes across time, space and through the individual engaging in the defining of it. These unique qualities of Nature that are open to interpretation allow for my own investigations to be multi-dimensional: looking at patterns, textures, forms and layers within the woodland. I will study habitats in and around native, deciduous trees and I will develop a dialogue between leaf and branch, the art of listening, of seeing and of being still.  The role that Nature plays in providing feelings of well-being will enable me to look deeper than the peripheral layers and to examine the minutiae of what constitutes natural surroundings.

The organic forms that arise from my investigations will respond to specific trees and I will use the symbolism and folklore associated with those trees to explore the less obvious routes to self-discovery that will inform my work. Transforming thoughts and emotions into sculptural pieces has allowed me to play with my art. The challenge for me has been to allow the free flow of ideas to become physical and three dimensional in form without pre-determining the outcomes of my sculptures.

In the natural world, I find a truth that is hidden from me when I am in urban spaces. My perception of self becomes distorted by other truths and I lose my sense of place. Surrounding myself by flora and fauna; using simple forms in my sculptures has empowered me. The benefits of sustaining positive mental health through connections with my environment prevail.

Mindfulness and minimalism has become the underlying influence behind my art, having explored aspects of individual responsibility and community in recent work. Utilising the power of saying more with less I have enjoyed the process of paring down detail, texture and imagery to its simplest form whilst being sensitive to the messages that I am conveying.

Drawing from this experience, I will continue to investigate the roll that my own memory of nature has on my development. The subtle effects that these life forms have on my responses suggest possibilities that run deeper than their visual impact implies; calming my mind to facilitate growth and rid myself of the vestiges of stress. Working with the rhythms in nature will enable my innate need to learn to be present in each moment and step away from chaos.

For me, visual art is a relational process between bodies of different kinds. The blurring and merging of the boundaries between seemingly solid forms, mood and the ephemeral nature of these constructs, is something to have fun with. Regardless of whether we have a history of being creative or an awareness of the life force around us. I believe we can become different versions of ourselves by imagining and creating new verbal, visual and expanded versions of what we see in our natural surroundings. I see Nature and art as a gateway to self-expression. Self-exploration. Subject and object, reality and representation are evolutionary and as such I aim to play with these perceived forms and characteristics to encourage a sense of wonder at our natural world.

As a visual artist, I find it very easy to become captivated by my own interpretation of the visual world. Utilising our environments to enthuse others to engage with the transient yet enduring beauty that can be found in Nature, the vulnerability and resilience that can be representative of habitat or to individual human stories is what drives me forward.

Having instinctive responses to my environment and using natural materials enables me to maintain my awareness of environment and habitat. We are all subject to biological, psychological and sociological conditions and my interest in how I preserve a positive approach to life continues to inform my art practice.

Retaining a sense of wonder in all that I see, connecting with every detail and finding a way to elevate it to an element deserving respect and consideration by all who encounter it, is a lot of responsibility and requires integrity on my part. Evaluating and re-evaluating my process and progress at every stage and collaborating with Nature to enhance and bring awareness to something as fragile and seemingly insignificant as a leaf, is a challenge. Seeking to consciously direct the viewer’s attention to detail, draw their eyes to secret hidden spaces, I will continue to use shades of white to represent inner peace, purity, innocence, light and new beginnings. Through my sculptures, I will endeavour to translate my sense of wonderment into tangible, sentient pieces of art. An ode to John Dewey and his belief that it is the reflection of an experience that facilitates learning.

 

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