Alison Kidd on Working Alison Kidd on Drawing together caerhendre on Identity in the SPace gillian binks on Identity in the SPace
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The scale of Woollenline, a huge landscape drawing, its domestic, social, political and economic arrangements forced a new way of working that now impacts on my current work, exploring identity.
Slowly drawing alongside people both caring for and living with dementia inspires a subconscious shift of both pace and scale.
I remain preoccupied by the materials of life. The fleshy substance of it: literally when encountering an organ ( brains) pickled in formaldehyde and then again when travelling with the conversations afforded by mid stage Alzeimher’s.
And not only those affected with an enhanced alteration of their brain, every one of us sees and experiences the world differently forcing my interrogation of the use of pronouns : who is the ‘they’, ‘you’ and ‘we’?
The scale of Walkers: I, you, we & they could have been infinite but is determined by the relationship of the piece to the initial prints, hand-held clay tablets carrying images of Sumerian glyphs, the pronouns.
Each step of exploration brings new insights: Someone loved a series of portraits inspired by residents of a care home are made of hundreds, if not thousands of individual pieces, paper, beads, rags, glass. Each different personality requiring its own materials.
The work echoes an enquiry into my own life, a piece made from over 23,000 pieces of painted paper, Day’s of my life.
Then there is my brain.
Over 400 images from the MRI scan I volunteered for at University College London.
My drawing of Nin is made from beautiful rich red wool fabric cut from a military jacket.
Nin was once in the Queen’s guard. he was 73 when he died recently.
The background is made from studio rags
It is bizarre how when, cut into small pieces and knotted they start to take on the colours of bruises.
When complete the piece will have used between 27,000 and 30,000 bits of rag more than the days that made up Nin’s life
Like Days of my life, each element whether paper or cloth, unique in itself , yet seen from a glance they merge to tones and patterns of their own making.
The uncredited woman,
Blind printed etching, drawn lines on scrim, encased in a glass bell jar
The uncredited woman creates a map: a record of cause and effect
The space determining her world
Her state of being
Impacted by the home she shares with 54 other residents and 75 staff
Making her own floor plan, etching her movements into the building
The space determines where I place myself to draw, what materials I use and how I engage with this community
Personal space is critical but limited; subtly learnt
Creating fine lines of connection
I think I am destined to be forever counting, either days of my life or the 27,000 plus pieces of rag need to create the image of Nin. What I won’t count are the seeming thousands of pieces of glass that erupted when I accidentally knocked the toughened glass panel with a rejected image of John. The sound and appearance were spectacular, bringing the piece into sharper focus even as it seemed to disintegrate, blossoming into more thoughts of identity…..
My partner gave me this article to read. The last sentence encapsulates so much!
What is the mirror?
What does it offer?
When do I really look?
I can answer that last question: when I draw. Drawing offers unknowable things and then as my hands work, play with ways to articulate what my eyes see, a whole new world unfolds.
Think of all those people, places and things that pass through our lives and what can they reflect back to us……………..
When I first moved to live in the Brecon Beacons one of the first painters I came across was Megan Jones, a passionate painter whose work suggests a deep connection to both the landscape and people who inhabit it. I loved her work even before I met her.
The last time we met we exchanged work. I received an intimate painting of a young woman sewing, Megan had on of my smaller Rare Music paintings. But not only paintings were gifted, plants too. She came to visit us bringing ‘a cutting’ of a rose in full bloom, gathered only that morning and pushed into a pot of coal spoil laden Ystradgynlais soil! I laughed, secretly appalled at the thought that the poor bloom could actually grow. How wrong I was! Ten, fifteen years on we are blessed each year with that wild optimistic gesture with a beautiful rose.
I went to see Megan yesterday, now living in a care home.
I took sweet scented stocks and my sketchbook.
I remembered her wild work and just a for few seconds Megan placed the drawing upright so she could see it.
Artist to artist.