An exhibition of site specific work by studio holders at Bath Artists’ Studios
Monday 30 September to Sunday 13 October 2019
Roper Gallery, Bath Artists’ Studios, The Old Malthouse, Comfortable Place, Bath, BA1 3AJ.
The World Heritage site of Avebury in Wiltshire, UK is place that has a deep history of human engagement. During the latter half of 2018 and throughout 2019, artists from Bath Artist’s Studios have been visiting the site collectively and individually as a field based methodology that focuses on site specific making, collaboration and creative conversations. This exhibition presents the outcome of some of that work as well as some of the conversations that took place in this ancient landscape.
Artist and printmaker. I teach drawing and printmaking at Bath Artists’ Studios. I have been visiting Avebury and other megalithic sites for 40 years, studying and pondering their significance and the layers of time they represent.
The mystery and timeless layering of the landscape evoke exploration of surface. Trodden and embedded markings create their own narrative to be developed through a range of contemporary media.
I am a Textile and Mixed-Media artist. Surfaces and textures intrigue and interest me. Through the exploration of textiles I find myself, encounter others and inhabit landscapes around me.
I wanted to express my feelings about Avebury using multimedia, something modern technology has made more accessible. I have found the landscape and its sites have provoked so many thoughts in me that I wanted to do more than just make photographs. It has meant learning new software and experimenting so I feel that this is an ongoing project rather than a finished piece.
The museum at Avebury houses the excavated skeletal remains of a young child from Neolithic times. It resides under glass amongst a beautiful selection of Neolithic pottery. I was deeply touched by this displaced, vulnerable and lonely figure removed from the earth of his/ her ancestors.
In response I created a burial urn; a symbolic piece, as the dimensions of my kiln were limited. It’s a gesture of recognition, empathy and intention. One day I hope that this child will be reburied.
This vessel would be something that the child’s family would have recognised. It is coiled and the decoration is made in a bonfire – magical circles that symbolise eternity and universality. Familiar symbols. The beads and feathers add playfulness; pretty things to gift a child.
Creating the urn was a purposeful period. Afterwards I was left with a sense of their family – a sense of love and sadness. This group of vessels rose from these feelings. I see them as company for this child, connecting it with its time and place.
In my imagination I envisage the future reburial within this vessel, encircled by the others.
My senses excavate this ancient place, they unravel layers of time, memory and substance.
I am a fine art photographer, I endeavour to capture the beauty, the “thisness”, that I see in the world, sometimes in unexpected places, and to convey that beauty through hand-made prints. To that end, I work solely with film cameras and a traditional darkroom.
For my piece of work for the Avebury Project, I have tried to present both the essential simplicity of these stones in this particular location, as well as the complex ambiguities of Avebury as a place of significance over time: the way it has meant so many different things to different groups of people through the centuries and still does today. A single image cannot suffice. How you interpret the small set I have produced will be determined by how you react to the stones yourself…
Alongside this response, Ewan Robertson and I have exchanged images to interpret in our own ways and this has added another level of collaborative interpretation of Avebury.