Installation shots from my current exhibition ‘The Practice of the Wild’ at Terre Verte Gallery, Altarnun, Cornwall UK. It features four prints from the ‘Huangshan Ltd’ series, a wallpaper collage of four images from ‘Bamboo (Six Seconds)’, six prints from ‘Sixth Extinction’ and two prints from ‘Sound of Jura’.
Posts Tagged ‘project’
Civilisation exists by geological consent, subject to change without notice. – Will Durant.
On the wall is a bathymetric map – a map of the topography of a section of the Pacific Ocean floor 2,500 miles east of Australia. Intricate, black wrinkles spread across the map denoting the contours and pressure ridges of the ocean landscape. At a depth of 11 miles those contours coalesce to form a thick, dark crease across the map. At this spot the Pacific tectonic plate dives below the Australian plate at an average of 10 inches per year – by far the fastest plate movement on the planet.
In 2009, in a massive fault rupture, the plates moved 22 feet relative to each other for a distance of 155 miles. The resulting wave was 55 feet high when it hit the nearest coastline – the island of Samoa, 100 miles to the north. It killed 189 people, destroyed 20 villages and left 3000 homeless.
Detail from above image
Visiting Samoa in 2014, I’m struck by the swathes of vegetation that rise, several storeys high, from the roadsides. Comprising one single species – Merremia Peltata – this fast-growing climbing vine with broad, waxy leaves has smothered and killed more than 60% of Samoa’s native forest. The contours of the carpet of vines recalls the contours of the ocean floor map. An inundation of vegetation. A palpable echo of the tsunami.
‘The Sixth Extinction’ project is featured this week in the ‘Another Place’ contemporary photography magazine on tumblr – here. The project concerns ecosystem transition and is loosely based around the investigations of a group of scientists into a 200 million year old mystery – a mass extinction event which wiped out around 80% of all life on earth.
Looking forward to the Rencontres d’Arles Photography Festival in early July. I’ll be showing three prints there as part of the Galerie Huit Open Salon show – two from the series Bamboo (Six Seconds) and one from the series Huangshan Ltd. Though that’s really a lame excuse for spending a week in the beautiful old town of Arles in the south of France, smothered in all things visual.
A highlight should be French graffiti artist/photographer JR’s closing night presentation. If you haven’t seen his inspiring 2011 TED Award prize speech then you really should – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PAy1zBtTbw – on the subject of changing the world using art by, unlikely as it sounds, flyposting massive scale images.
My two recent projects – ‘Huangshan Ltd’ and ‘Bamboo (Six Seconds)’ – mark a slight shift in emphasis in my work – though the progression to this point is clear from a stroll through my ‘generic’ portfolios – ‘land’, ‘sea’ etc. Both projects also share a framework which I intend to continue to pursue in the future. Below is my ‘artist statement’ which should explain all.
Historically cultures have turned to their natural environment as a source of inspiration for collective identification. Myths, memories and cultural virtues are projected onto the landscape which acquires iconic status, becoming imbued with moral and spiritual significance. Increasingly though, these bonds between a culture and its physical landscape are becoming eroded as we adapt the environment to our own ends rather than allowing it to shape who we are.
My work documents this rift, using natural ‘tools’ within the landscape to articulate this growing spiritual and cultural detachment. These devices have included invasive vines (Fault Line), atmospheric phenomena (Huangshan Ltd) and time itself (Bamboo (Six Seconds)). Hushed rhythms of meditative beauty are used to engage the viewer with disquieting issues and ideas, asking them to re-evaluate our culture’s changed and fraught relationship with the land. Powerful places are quietly told, the landscapes mediated by unease. The projects, through the lens of landscape iconography, address issues of conservation and ecology, ecosystem transition and the ethics of land use and ownership.
I’ve just returned from three weeks travelling and shooting around Scotland, Wales and northern England. Much of this new work will appear as a new project but the details remain under wraps for the moment as I have more locations to shoot.