Shetland: An Archaeology of the Unknown I-VII
The Shetland series is an archaeological inquiry into the study of temporality and ephemerality. I visualise temporality as pockets of time (with varying depths) akin to the inner spaces of consciousness. The ephemeral is fleeting and is at home on the surface plane. As Shetland is the halfway point between Ireland and the Arctic it represents a liminal space (Shetland IV) between the known and the unknown. Shetland is in and of itself a geologic temporality of Deep-Time. Visually and texturally, the use of bitumen as a medium can capture the sense of mystery and metamorphism associated with Deep-Time.
The series began as an existential response to the Arctic (after a journey made to Greenland) by investigating the unknown through sheer experimentation with bitumen. Bitumen was generously poured over a large sheet of canvas. Its rippling effect, once dried, created a textured decorative plane which inevitably captured the light and in doing so, metaphorically, added a substrate of evanescence onto a substance of permanence. The experimentation was rolled up, stored and unrolled almost a decade later after visiting Shetland. The Shetland series was so called as it echoed my sensory and emotional response to the landscape of Shetland. Shetland is cold and nestled in the dark waters of the North Sea and brings with it a sense of journeying into the unknown. The outstretched bitumen canvas was now an archaeological site of investigation (and performance) and as I stepped into it, samples conducive to my compositional design were taken. These samples are artefacts of Deep-Time that not only show the geomorphological impact of time and tide that make up the landscape of Shetland but are also metamorphic Caledonian 'rock samples' uniting Ireland, Scotland, Shetland and Greenland.
This series of paintings was selected by a jury of international art curators for exhibition at Artexpo New York to showcase the theme 'Transformation'.
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An Archaeology of the Unknown is a series of on-going work charting an expedition from Sub-Arctic regions through to the Arctic and plays on archaeological tropes of excavation, stratigraphy and psychoanalysis. Journeying in the Arctic is cold and dark, yet illuminating, which I have expressed as a sensory, emotional and imaginal response to the landscape through sculptural-painting, drawings and photography.