In conjunction with a new exhibition ‘Loomings’ at Bury Art Museum created by North West based artist David Ogle and produced by Mark Devereux Projects. They have collaborated again to provide this symposium. Discussing the way in which artists such as David utilise the landscape for the creation of work, considering the history of land art to how contemporary artists are deriving their work from the landscape today.Two other key presentations were given by David Shiel on behalf of the Clwydian Range & Dee Valley area and Diana Hamilton for the Irwell Sculpture Trial. They both gave past and current examples of sculpture projects that they have personally commissioned in response to the landscape areas they look after. Of particular importance were their joint strategies to engage with the public and provide a much needed link to the history of the areas.
It was David Ogle’s work that I really wanted to hear about as I too have utilised the landscape to create art that presents a different view of what we see. It was interesting to hear that he uses the landscape as a way to enable a fresh view of the landscape. Initially he began with drawings and then moved into using light to allow him to recreate those works on paper as a sculptural form. It also enabled him to scale up easily from a 2d level to large open spaces and create a presence without the need for material elements.
Using the introductory chapter of Moby Dick as inspiration, he cites the pull towards the wilderness as underpinning his work outdoors. I find it interesting that the journey moves from book to computer as David has developed his narrative of the story into his research of planning. He also cites German romanticist painter, Caspar David Friedrich, who began the shift from simply looking at the landscape to the actual experience of the landscape. David actively looks for remote places where his interventions have had no previous experience of human activity.
It’s the landscape that provides a platform for David to present his work. Using its form as a tool, he can pick out unique features in which his material (coloured smoke) can be best presented. The way the smoke envelops the surrounding mass provides a captivating event for him and it is then this event that becomes his work of art. A picture postcard ‘happening’ which he captures and records to present as artwork. An example of this video work is ‘Ray‘ (showcased within the ‘Loomings’ exhibition – pics below) and shows blue smoke appearing and disappearing to define the spaces between, in front of and above the granite rocks. Natural sunlight streams in to diffuse and unsettle the smoke providing another element of interaction with the environment.
I found it really interesting hearing the differences between the speakers: the artist who is concerned with material and object, and the ‘land owners’ who are concerned with history and engagement. Fundamentally it is here that ideas, material and connectivity to the ‘landscape sites’ all become a crucial unbreakable link.
Find more pics on my blog at www.illustratinganartylife.co.uk.