Studio Postings…

In just over three weeks DIS/rupt will open at Gallery Oldham. It’s time therefore to have another posting from a TSG member’s studio to find out about the work visitors will see in Oldham. Shelley Rhodes will be well known to many of you through her membership of TSG but also through her teaching. Always interested to hear where ideas come from, as before, I asked Shelley what area of the DIS/rupt project she had been exploring. The piece is titled ‘Only Five Percent’ so I was keen to know what lay behind the title:

My work explores climate change specifically in relation to warming sea temperatures which are affecting the world’s coral reefs.

I am a great beachcomber and on some of my travels I had collected a few tiny coral fragments from the beach. They were beautiful, mainly bleached white with interesting marks, pattern and detail.

I had already begun to draw and use these as a source of mark making. So it was a natural progression for me to develop this interest.

Can you tell us something about the piece you are working on for DIS/rupt

I focused my research on coral bleaching, which is thought to occur when water temperatures rise for a sustained period of time. Coral is a living creature and the most obvious sign that coral is sick is coral bleaching. This happens when the algae on the coral surface dies or leaves the coral. The algae give coral its colour, so without it the coral has no colour and the white of the limestone shell shines through the transparent coral bodies.    

Whilst researching the project I came across a lot of statistics, mostly relating to percentages linked to the amount of bleaching on reefs around the world. One shocking statistics that I came across was ‘only five percent of the worlds coral reefs are in pristine condition’. Another stated that ‘fifty percent of the world’s reefs are damaged through bleaching’. I wanted to portray these statistics, so I decided to create one hundred small components with each representing one percent of the world’s coral. Half of the units are shades of white which represent the bleached coral. Five of the units are very brightly coloured, with the rest somewhere in between.

What are the materials and processes that you are working with?

I made marks made by printing, scorching and stitching. The marks were inspired by marks and patterns found on coral. I used a variety of lightweight and transparent fabrics which I fragmented, manipulated, shredded and layered.

Some of the pieces are very distressed as I tried to portray the skeletal qualities and fragility of the damaged coral. I also discharged colour to emulate the bleaching.

I wanted to refer to the many written statistics that I discovered during my investigations. So I included text relating to my research. I did this using image transfer methods and digital printing directly onto fabric. I also had some mini thermofax screens made, so that I could print the text easily throughout the piece.

 Are you able to give us an idea of the scale of your piece?

The one hundred units are displayed in a block 4 deep x 25 wide. The overall size is 1metre in depth x 3.75m wide

Is the finished piece to be free standing or wall mounted?

It is wall mounted. Each individual piece is hung separately so there is space between each component. The individual pieces are for sale. The pieces that were sold in Stroud have been replaced with a ‘ghost’ image of the original piece printed onto tracing paper. I like the way that this represents the fact that some of the world’s coral species are slowly disappearing. These ‘ghost’ images may increase if sales are made at each venue!

What message do you hope the viewers of your work will take away from the exhibition?

I hope they will become aware of the catastrophic bleaching events that are taking place on the world’s coral reefs.

Thank you Shelley. I think people seeing your work in the gallery will be struck by how you have visually represented global warming and how the warming oceans are effecting coral reefs, such a fragile environment. If you want to see more of Shelley’s work in DIS/rupt then remember the dates.

Hope to see you there.

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Studio Postings

The countdown to Oldham is in full swing, labels and packaging being checked and in just over three weeks DIS/rupt will open to the public in Gallery Oldham. Fine time therefore to find out from some more members about their work. I recently managed to chat with Janet Edmonds, author of several very popular books, about the work she will be submitting in Oldham.

First of all I asked Janet about the specific area of the DIS/rupt project she was investigating or exploring?

I have chosen to explore the global warming category and investigating extreme weather around the coast in particular. I began by looking into the Dawlish railway collapse as I use that line down to the West country fairly regularly so have a personal interest in what happened there in February 2014

Can you tell us something about the piece you are working on for DIS/rupt

I did some drawings to explore the idea of huge waves hitting the coastline but had great difficulty in trying to workout how this could be made. Over a period of time I began to consider the wider issue of the power of the sea as it makes landfall. Originally, I wanted to create a piece that would appear to burst through a wall which would mean making two pieces, one for either side. Due to life’s complications, I have had to modify my ideas and make something that I could do in the time I have available.

What are the materials and processes that you are working with?

Finding the right material to support my ideas took some time but eventually I made a breakthrough to the problem I had in supporting the fabric. I discovered Varaform, a material that can be moulded and shaped using heat or spraying with water. It becomes sticky so enables fabric to be fixed to it and retains its shape when cooled or dried. It also remains possible to hand stitch through it. I intend to make some fabric by machine to add to the piece and I am knitting with clear monofilament, again, to add to the hand stitched waves.

That sounds really interesting Janet, are you able to give us an idea of the scale of your piece?

The piece is not as large as I would like but is a metre wide and should be almost as high although I have not yet reached that stage. It will extend outwards from the wall.

Is the finished piece to be free standing or wall mounted?

The piece will be dimensional but wall hung and may be lit from within if the work goes according to plan.

What message do you hope the viewers of your work will take away from the exhibition?

Recent world news has brought us many horrific images of the damage and destruction that the sea can wreak when it reaches landfall. The energy within the waves heightened by adverse weather conditions is terrifying, even more so at close quarters. I hope that viewers will get a sense of the power of the sea and reflect on how small and insignificant we are against its might.

Thank you Janet, it will be of great interest to visitors to see the finished piece. If you would like to see Janet’s piece and all the other work in DIS/rupt when it opens on Saturday 2nd December then remember the dates for Gallery Oldham and the other venues and check earlier blog posts for dates and information about the workshops and artist talks on offer. Full information, about Gallery Oldham can be found here Gallery Oldham and the gallery can also be found on Twitter @GalleryOldham.

 

The countdown begins….

During the months that have passed since DIS/rupt closed after its successful run in Stroud, the group has been working to put together a programme of gallery dates, including workshops and artist talks, for DIS/rupt to tour. Here now are the dates for your diary:

We will resume our series of Studio Postings very soon, so please keep an eye on this blog as the weeks pass in the countdown to the DIS/rupt exhibition opening in Oldham.