in/visible

The past six months I’ve been in the studio more than on the beach, drawing, stitching and printing. On Friday some of this work was unveiled at a solo show at the Slide Room Gallery in Victoria BC.

Here are some installation shots of the show:

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“grass” 2013, tar paper, chalk, (110” x 40”.)

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“grass” 2013, tar paper, chalk, (110” x 40”.) Detail.

“field” 2013, wood, card, paint, white charcoal, (74” x 40”.)

“field” 2013, wood, card, paint, white charcoal, (74” x 40”.)

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“mean what you say”, 2014, paper, paint, wax, thread, (15” x 18 ½”.)

“mystery of stars” 2014, styrofoam, pins, beads, (dimensions variable.)

“mystery of stars” 2014, styrofoam, pins, beads, (dimensions variable.)

“here they have blown away” 2013, wood, chalk, (42” x 36”.)

“here they have blown away” 2013, wood, chalk, (42” x 36”.)

“treasure” 2013, paper, paint, wool, (16” x 19 ¼ ”.)

“treasure” 2013, paper, paint, wool, (16” x 19 ¼ ”.)

“turn to sky” 2013, wood, conte crayon, (24” x 24”.)

“turn to sky” 2013, wood, conte crayon, (24” x 24”.)

“states of existence” 2014, paper, pencil, wax, (dimensions variable.)

“states of existence” 2014, paper, pencil, wax, (dimensions variable.)

“chasing sun” 2013, oilcloth, chalk, (18” x 18”.)

“chasing sun” 2013, oilcloth, chalk, (18” x 18”.)

As you can see, these pieces are something of a new direction in my practice. The statement I wrote for the show explains what’s been going on:

          “I cleaned ocean debris from beaches for four years. It was physically demanding and repetitive work that often seemed futile and made me feel invisible. I knew the next tide would bring more debris; that I would never be able to take it all away. I needed to do something with visible results. So last summer I took some chalk and invented a new action for myself: row upon row of small white lines covering a schoolroom chalkboard.

          This series is about repetitive, sustained action. I make drawings and prints composed of hundreds of lines, dots and circles, using everyday materials such as found wood, discarded paper, Styrofoam meat trays, sewing thread, and chalk. They are made by repeating specific actions – drawing a dot or a line, sewing a stitch or pressing down an ink-stained stamp. I play with notions of visibility and invisibility. Repair stitches and rough edges are left in place as evidence of making in some pieces. In others, the marks build up until they obscure themselves.

          Much of the work requires a level of endurance that creates a tension between the effort involved and the quality of the material used. Like cleaning beaches, it is an attempt to establish some kind of order. The resulting marks, be they permanent stitches in a piece of paper or easily-erased chalk on wood, resemble a language or counting system. In them I see the history of my actions. I see myself.”

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6 thoughts on “in/visible

  1. Great work, good luck with your show, & I cant believe its been 4 years already!

    I really like ‘grass’ and ‘mean what you say’ Your choice of materials (tar paper? and wax) is interesting and what you say about ‘repetitive, sustained action’, the endurance required to make your work and to sustain working in this way: I sometimes feel we would all do well to meditate through these repetitive actions as well as having fun with them! Well done xxx

  2. really really beautiful work clare and looks great in that space! hope you’re happy with it and enjoyed the process of making it and putting it together. (sorry haven’t read all the wordy bit yet – too early and a sleepless night with the wee one – will have a look later 🙂 )xx

  3. Congratulations on an effective and cohesive show. I can totally relate to the feeling about making a difference in the environment…like rolling the proverbial boulder up the hill only to see it roll back down again.

    • Many thanks. I do my best to not be too attached to how I want the beach to be, to accept what I find as simply there. Some days I succeed and some I don’t. I find that much of the charm of your posts lies in the wonder you express in what you find, which then allows for some wonder-full storytelling.

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