As I began sweeping up, I saw another way of working: aided by my broom, Pareidolia, the spirit of Guiseppe Archimboldo and the serendipity of a windless, sunny day …
In this series of practical trials, I’ve been responding to the emotional affect of isolation and the shock of changes to normality caused by Covid 19. I limited myself to a lockdown discipline of using organic materials that came readily to hand, and to referencing words or text that became intensely familiar, imprinted on my mind by the news media. This was in part a personal challenge to try out new methods, and by interpreting meaning, metaphor and feeling via the material qualities of random, natural finds, I aimed to process loss and sadness, and to try to make some sense out of crisis.
I have found the method mindful and soothing and it has helped isolation feel almost purposeful: a creative practice in its own right. Outcomes are also taking the form of more abstract, symbolic representations of contagion, vulnerabiity, frailty and the social impact of health and illness.
There is so much we don’t understand and have little control over. I hoped that a contemplative practice, working with my hands, combining text and found, organic materials would reveal deeper, more universal or emotionally sensitive insights than those communicated by quantitative data, the clinical aesthetic of medical science, or the superficiality of media soundbites.
One of Outdoor Art School’s activities that got away! Cancelled due to the lockdown.
A temporary land art project, timed to celebrate the energy of spring in April 2020, in Winckley Square Gardens, Preston. UK
Our plan was to create a large scale ‘cut grass’ drawing in the central area of Winckley Square. Two visuals from the project’s initial proposal, shown here. The overhead view, gives an impression of the intended scale of the ‘drawing’.
Many thanks to Tony Lewis, Park Warden, for his input and encouragement.
Throughout the arts of the world, this animal’s spirit has been widely interpreted to symbolise resurrection, rebirth, creativity, hope, good luck, nature’s abundance, fertility, motion, optimism and imagination. This includes the ‘Easter Bunny’, a familiar folkloric figure and symbol of Easter, who brings gifts of multi-coloured Easter eggs to children. As a spatial artwork in the outdoors, the leaping rabbit will be visible from many angles, heights and locations in and around the Square, at different times of the day, in sunlight and in shadow, as though ‘alive’ and moving across the undulating ground.
We wanted it to act as a playful yet thought provoking reminder of seasonal sentiments, and also that humans share the earth with many other creatures and forms of life. The silhouette would gradually disappear as the grass regrows and re-greens, just as the earth’s seasons change imperceptibly over time.
The project’s title is a reference to a lyrical description celebrating life, written by the innovative poet, painter and playwright, E. E. Cummings, (1894 – 1962).
We will develop another, even better idea for next Easter!