drift: where the sea leads 2020
“Slow Art names an encounter between object and observer” (Reed 2017 p.10). This work, then, is slow art. It describes a place between seeing and being in nature. Between my subject the sea, and me in its presence.
drift: where the sea leads explores physical and metaphysical experiences of being in a coastal landscape. Through the lens of slow philosophy, I place value on finding resonance in nature.
I look slowly and purposefully while in nature, deliberately considering the physical elements of this landscape: driftwood, pebbles, dunes, the vastness of space and horizon. Drawing from these experiences while making rhythmic, detailed marks, I then explore the metaphysical – the affect I experience while being in this place – and in so doing I seek to describe a liminal space.
Focussing on my subject of the coastal landscape, I enter into a process where labour is the medium. From the gentle materiality of digital pencil and screen, to hard, physically demanding plywood forms, I work with repetitive mark-making techniques in drawing and carving to explore the vast potential for repetition to be generative, focussed and meditative in various forms.
The use of power tools in carving, and digital tools in drawing is critical to understanding this work in the contemporary context. As an artist operating in the world today, finding resonance from nature does not mean existing – and making – outside of the technological present, but rather the importance of finding ways from within this present to effect a grounded and balanced human experience that can celebrate what it means to existing in both natural and technological systems. In short, as an artist I see value in considering slowness not as escapism via the natural world, but rather as an opportunity to draw resonant, positive and pensive opportunities from within our multifaceted present. The subject of nature reminds us that we are human, the tools and materiality in the works remind us that we are human today.
The end result conceives a kind of natural reverie and temporal slowing, which describes the notion of drifting: being taken away on a thought or meditation by the sea, which can have a grounding, balancing effect.