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  • Writer's pictureRitchard Allaway

08/12/21 - Fragmented Landscapes

28th October 2021- latter reflection

Fragmented Landscapes

Location: The Auxiliary Gallery - Middlesbrough

Documenting work

The piece ‘Fragmented Landscapes’ is a collective photographic landscape formed from six hundred and twenty negative pin hole photographs at the size of 40x40mm. The work itself was collected via twelve DIY black cardboard boxes placed at various locations around and within my house. I set up and ruffled bedsheets to emphasize movement, form and light and shadow within the camera’s lens range.

I was given permission from Anna and Liam Slevin, owners of the Auxiliary Gallery and founders of the Middlesbrough Art Weekender to document my work within their public space. I had previously documented this piece (see blog post ‘Fragmented Landscapes’) within my front studio room but due to the awful lighting conditions and size of the room, the effect or wanted feeling was not there, it was bounded by negative restrictions and therefore needed a much larger space. Although I could argue about the use of the clinical white cube space, I believed it to be the ideal backdrop for such a large-scale piece and a space that could support the context of the work.

Let’s recap with what I previously stated when I first documented this piece in my front studio. ‘The multitude of prints moves and pushes me around, and from that movement I can sense some panic as I find myself lost within not knowing what these abstract prints communicate, until I catch a glimpse of a known inverted object. A little bit of humanity... indicating that where my being is, other beings have been before and left their mark. That sense of human 'reality' gives an ease to my continuing movement around the complete image. Light, mid, and dark tones move gracefully through one and other and that helps with a gradual transition between images, although the contradiction is when the snap of change occurs and that temporal unfolding of abstract aesthetics cuts off as a new image of sharp edges hits the journey of the gaze.’ Quite wordy but I think this still has some place within the current context, but with the works new location it has taken on new feeling and reduced some of the prior.

For feeling through the finished work, I can say that I felt grateful that I succeeded in some sense, that this work was out and located elsewhere. There was freedom for it, and I think that relates to the bond between myself and work. ‘We’ spent several long weeks together in complete isolation and we formed an inquiry, a discussion, a journey, a reflective journal almost that indicated the hard time(s) spent within one’s own presence. I think relief is the word I am searching for if I was to round this off, but for anyone reading this, I think you will understand that it is that feeling after you have completed something, and you take a step back and let it sink in… that is where I was at with this.

As for the work and navigating my feelings through and from I felt a sense of overwhelming visual stimuli. This work was surrounded by vast white clinical walls, which grounded it to its location, it was framed and imprisoned (somewhat contradictory when I have just been talking about freedom) by whiteness, although it helped produce that finished look. The visual navigation between each photograph allowed for a constant change in landscape. It is and was a complex interrogation with complex visual alterities. To quote Tihomir Topuzovski, from the recent symposium ‘Towards Ecocritical Art History: Methods and Practices’ via the Vienna Anthropocene Network (4/12/21) which I was witness too, it is a ‘landscape of anxiety’. The constant cycle of otherness and object is all intertwined within this system of landscape ecology. The viewer (i:e myself) is ready within, though their being is present, I do not believe it is a landscape that can be mapped and safely navigated.

To bring T Morton back in as of recent reading material, ‘Nothing is ever experienced directly, but only as mediated through other entities in some shared sensual space.’ (T. Morton P86) I wanted to bring this idea of inter-objectivity into the fold, because with the way this piece is set out it permits this concept of moving from white wall space to the photograph and then to the ‘object’ within. No direct contact is made to my own personal wilderness/landscape. The audience can only access that space via an inter-objective means however, they can access the idea of alterity and movement through visual space.

1.Timothy Morton (2013). Hyperobjects: Philosophy and ecology after the end of the world. Minneapolis: The University of Minnesota Press.

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