past - present

The following body of work has grown out of the Hazelford Project, encapsulating a long term interest in marks left behind in the landscape through the natural processes of weathering and erosion with the emergence of new concerns about the traces of human occupation of which the two pieces below are suggestive.

Laundry (2013)
hessian, plaster of paris

Bundles (2013)
nettle stalks, hessian string, plaster of paris

wallpaper, fabric, human traces (2013)

Below is a section from Margaret Taylor's account of Hazelford, written in 2002, which refers to the traces of wallpaper on the walls of the stone house.  Although not entirely fitting the description I found a style of wallpaper which I felt was relevant to this period to use as a starting point for further ideas.  In addition, the use of paper at the site is symbolic in that Hazelford once served as a paper mill.

Another local man, the late Lanc Mollington, worked for my husband's grandfather, and actually ploughted up the track from the road to the village. He recalls how difficult it was, but for me his most priceless memory is that the walls of the stone house, still partly standing, had "blue wallpaper with flowers on it".

Making footprints  takes further the ideas about how the existence of marks, traces and materials act as visual signifiers of earlier human occupation.

The trampling of the paper into the mud can also be seen as symbolising a physical wearing down of materials communicating something about the harsh reality of this rural existence where the daily struggle for survival meant a constant battling against the elements as nature imposed itself upon rural domestic life.

Making footprints

Leaving traces...

Wallpaper detail

Thresholds   came about by chance as I chose a muddy gateway at one of the site entrances to trample the paper.

Having taken a photograph of the paper in situ as documentary evidence I further reflected upon the significance of its location at the site entrance, the threshold between Hazelford and the rest of the world.   The wallpaper, now imbued with footprints, takes on a fabric like quality suggestive of a shroud and hence human presence, much like Laundry and Bundles (top of page) before it.

Inspired by the image I decided to take further photographs of the paper at different access points to the site whilst further considering the meaning of the term "threshold".   This led to the title of "Past - Present" for this body of work as I reflected upon the cycle of life and death and the generations of human beings passing through not only Hazelford but life in general.

Threshold 1

Threshold 2

Threshold 3

Garment  again results from another piece of serendipity: how much does this look like a garment?

Returning to the studio I pinned up this wallpaper fragment alongside Laundry, instantly recognising the visual relationship between the two.

There are several reasons behind photographing it on the wall of the stone house.  Firstly this is where Lanc Mollington discovered the original fragment of wallpaper, secondly its garment like quality suggests evidence of domestic occupation and thirdly, by the nature of its marks and colours, the garment appears to merge with the stone surface, partially obscured like an archeological fragment about to be uncovered.

Garment (2013)

shrouds (2014)

oil on paper (each 59x84cm)

Smother     oil on canvas 93x102cm

Falling     oil on canvas 92x92cm

Breast Plate     oil on canvas 54x65cm

Departure     oil on canvas 85x136cm

Cast     oil on canvas 93x102cm

The project continues...