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Sensing Earth – Art and Environment

6 September - 11 June 2011

With an unexpected gap in the Kestle Barton 2011 exhibition schedule we were able to invite the graduating students from the MA Art and Environment at University College Falmouth to use the space for the first week in September. Kestle Barton is pleased to host Sensing Earth – Art and Environment with work by Tom BaskeyfieldLucy Morley,Freya Morgan and Sonia Shomalzadeh.

Group Statement – Sensing Earth draws together the work of four artists from the MA Art and Environment at University College Falmouth, who each use different methods and mediums to respond to and engage with our fellow earth. Journeying through rhythms and cycles, the artists open dialogues and tell stories to evoke a deeper understanding of our place as part of the global eco-system.

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Tom Baskeyfield’s Artist Statement

To The Field: Walking; Engaging; Connecting to Place

‘Many people nowadays live in a series of interiors – home, car, gym, office, shops – disconnected from each other. On foot everything stays connected, for while walking one occupies the spaces between those interiors in the same way one occupies those interiors…One lives in the Whole World’ – Rebecca Solnit

Over the past two years or so I have gone out walking. Of course I have been walking for the majority of my life, to school, to work, to the shops, but the difference is that before this time walking was merely transport; I felt the path under my feet but I wasn’t in tune with what was around me. During the past two years I have looked up from the path and started to see, hear and feel my surroundings. I have felt an awakening of consciousness through walking.

My walking takes me into the land; from the hard tarmac to the softer earth. This wandering has taken me to one specific place of late – Little Beach Field. The grass, the soil, the stones; the hedgerows, the trees, the waters edge – these are the basic elements of this place. Fields stand as a bridge between the human world and the non-human world, a place to contemplate our relationship with nature and ourselves as nature. The land is a powerful mirror. In it we can see the past, present and envision the future. Without the land, there will be no future!

My art derives from the land, in particular that that can be reached on foot from the front-door of my home. I am for an art that takes stock of the place in which it is made. This art should dig under the surface, uprooting the connective tissues that lie there to present a rich matter of knowledge. This art should also promote questioning and reflection; it should stimulate thought and develop understanding. I see walking as a thread that aids this process.

This connection to place I speak of is vital to the development of a deeper understanding of the ecology of our immediate surroundings and beyond. We live in very uncertain times. We have grown beyond our means. We have become disconnected from our environment. We have exploited the natural world for all that we need to survive, but this can not carry on.  We must therefore become more aware of what surrounds us and develop tighter bonds to it. We must get out into it, get amongst it! I propose that walking is a good way to start.

Lucy Morley’s Artist Statement

‘My blood sings green.’ – Anne Wilkinson

We only have to look inside a tree to notice that like us, it too is composed of a network of cells and veins, channelling life through its body. My mission as an artist is to magnify and celebrate the untold stories that are embedded in these silent giants of the land.

I want to prompt questions about the relationships that we all hold with trees, and how we depend on them, encouraging a greater consideration for the myriad of invisible roles that they play in our everyday lives.

My practice encourages us to adopt processes that have a low impact on the environment. Reducing old paper products down to their natural fibres, and re-forming them into new material, reveals the value and beauty of the recycled and the handmade.

Drawing with emotion, my work translates the scientific into the poetic, and generates experiences that awaken our senses to the hidden patterns in nature.

Freya Morgan’s Artist Statement

Fairytales for A Mended Earth

We are made of stories; we flow in layers of narrative; from inherent archetypes to the tiniest intricacies in connected eco-systems across earth. Plants harness energy from the sun, and all life on land depends upon them, yet today over one fifth of plant species are facing extinction. My practice weaves mythical written and visual narratives to tell the stories of plants from threatened eco-systems, and to spin a space for dreaming.

In Fairytales for a Mended Earth, I have tried to listen to the ‘voices’ of orchids growing in the Andean cloud forests. I try to imagine from my human form their experiences of life, and then transcend this into a holistic story or narrative poem, that incorporates the energy of the forest, the mists, rain, sun, moon, insects, consciousness, myself and everything in between. The contrast between the familiar voice of the fairytale, and the devastating disappearance of the cloud forests opens a different world- a world of ever-rising mists, vanishing lives, intense colour, darkness and magic.

Sonia Shomalzadeh’s Artist Statement

‘We knew what the world looked like before we knew what the whale looked like’ – Philip Hoare

My mission is to make visible our “invisibly ill” ocean.

To most, like me, the ocean is a vast reflective surface where earth meets sky, but I have learnt that it is a place where nearly all life exists. I am fascinated by that other dimension- the deep blue, which our earthbound evolution distils us from. All the time I am by the ocean, I am imagining the life that happens in its body, out of sight from where I stand. I have been making scale sand drawings of the worlds largest endangered whales, on beaches around Cornwall to help visualize their epic size and fragility.

And as my awareness of their silent battle with oceanic pollution grows, it fuels my art practice and the need to make work in a public space, from the water’s edge, reminding us of their presence and hinting at the threat we have caused to their survival.

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