The In Between: Landscape Image and Landscape Objects
There is a space that lies between walking and making, between observing and drawing, between lived experience and reflected experience, between being witness and being interpreter, and between landscape image and landscape object. Process, content, form, symbolism and materiality are all at play here.
This presentation considers Illustration as an explorative and poetic practice and seeks to engage the audience to meditate on these spaces within and beyond the boundaries of illustration, reaching to archaeology, engineering, conservation and craftsmanship in relation to my own-recorded experiences of the process and making of two bodies of recent and on-going self directed work. Both projects respond to the idea of place and land histories.
The first (Case study 1) seeks to explore to the history of Epping Forest, Essex, in the present using drawing to interpret the seen while the craft object reveals the unseen. Experience of landscape through walking and its history provides content here, where my role as illustrator is investigator, maker and curator. Pictorial representations of specific significant locations are exhibited alongside cod-historical wooden artefacts, hand carved from fallen wood in Epping Forest, in a theatre of landscape object and images. The work explores past narratives that are recorded in the land, shaped by man, but often overlooked. Ancient trees of the forest are now, perhaps our only witness. Do the craft objects then, have an authority of history? Collectively it invites the audience to explore the space between the past and the present, knowing and unknowing and between image and artefact.
The second (Case study 2) looks towards a current research project, based on Wallasea Island, on the coast of Essex, currently in the process a landmark conservation and engineering project. Here 4.5 Million tonnes of earth removed from London’s Crossrail has been relocated to recreate ancient wetlands and mud ats, to help combat the threats of climate change and coastal ooding. My role as illustrator here looks towards imagining a past and communicating the future of a place very much in transition and whose history is displaced and reformed. I will discuss my experiences at the site, and discuss the potential here for drawing to record the progress of a changing landscape, and for the object to intervene and inhabit the landscape to create spontaneous encounters and experience for the audience.
Reflections and critique of the processes and outcomes of both projects will contribute to an expanding dialogue of how the Illustrator as investigator, as image-maker and object maker, can contribute to our understanding and experience of place.