Throughout my practice I am interested in creating a relationship between art and nature. I have been exploring a variety of methods to portray different ways that nature, place, landscape and environment can be integrated into art work. My Ideas stem from the work of John Piper and the Romantics who aimed to capture a sense of experiencing a place through a more expressive approach to painting. They didn’t simply paint a landscape, their work connected with it. Attempting to capture an essence of being in a natural surrounding, I incorporated natural objects physically into my work. I quickly realised that I was particularly interested in the connections and relationships that art and nature could have and wanted to explore these avenues and challenge the more traditional landscape approach.
In a world with a growing urban environment, advancing technologies and environmental issues contributing to the depletion of the natural terrain: I feel that art has an important role to play in connecting or reconnecting people with nature for our sake and Nature’s sake. Through My art I intend to expose the viewer to and connect them with nature. Inspired by Artists such as Anselm Kiefer, Richard Long and Stuart Cairns to name a few, I have produced a body of work that explores the interconnections that art and nature can have. I work with what Nature has to offer and the colour palette reflects that. Nature links my experimentation together and is embedded into my practice.
5 Key Points – Documentation
1. Chosen Artwork: Starting Point: Development of Ideas. I started this project inspired by the work of John Piper, particularly his piece “The Rocky Valley, North Wales”. After researching the artist, I discovered that he aimed to capture a sense of place within his work and integrate an experience of the landscape he was portraying. I started experimenting working with the theme’s of Landscape and Place, particularly a place that was close to me, The Brecon Beacons.
2. From a Connection to place to a Connection between Art and Nature: Experimenting with Ways of integrating Art and Nature. Experimentation Led me to realise that creating a sense of Landscape and place could be captured by including thing’s from the place in my work, this is where I began working with art and nature and investigating ways in which art and nature could be integrated.This is significant because this realisation influenced the rest of my project. It came to my attention that our world is becoming highly urbanized and distanced from nature. I thought about how including natural materials in my art could expose people to it and somewhat reconnect them with a natural environment. I set about exploring different ways I could incorporate nature into art whether that be through my use of materials, drawing with natural found objects or by collaborating with nature.
3. Mixing Natural Materials into Paint.
The idea of creating a connection between Art and Nature led me to mix acrylic paint (an art material) and natural matter together. I was interested in the textures that could be achieved and I kept exploring the possibilities. I enjoyed the process but lost my ideas a bit and I felt that even though this work included natural materials it wasn’t really showcasing them. Infact they were being hidden within plasticy man-made paint. A connection between art and nature was not evident enough. By this point, I also felt I had exhausted images of the Brecon Beacons and so more deeply connecting my work to nature by formulating landscapes influenced by the shapes of twigs.
4. Experimentation: Making Paints and Painting Tools from Natural Materials.
My work largely developed from here and instead of mixing materials into man-made paints, I created my own paint from natural materials and started experimenting with grinding my own pigments and binding them to paint with. Inspired by my the Field Modules, I made tools from natural materials to apply the paints with. My colour palette and mark variation was limited to what nature had to offer, I was creating art with nature and out of nature.
5. Making Landscape work from Natural Paints applied with Natural Tools and Final Assessment Space.
After going on a journey of investigating ways to integrate art and nature, I decided that the most successful method was to work with natural paints and apply them with tools made from natural materials and so I started working on Landscape pieces (formulated from the shape of twigs) in this way. My work showcases ways in which art and nature can be intertwined and challenges traditional landscape painting. The paints and tools I also see as artworks in themselves so as well as my paintings I have chosen to exhibit them in my assessment space.
5 Key Points – Contextualisation
1. John Piper: An Experience of Place. John Piper’s work “The Rocky Valley, North Wales” was the starting point to my subject work. Romantic Artist’s such as John Piper and Graham Sutherland saw an importance in Nature. They wanted to create an experience of a place and a connection with it. I started working with these ideas and under the influence of these artist’s progressed to exploring the relationship art and nature could have.
2. Anselm Kiefer Exhibition: Works incorporating Natural Materials with Paint. Viewing the Anselm Kiefer Exhibition in the Royal Academy really inspired my ideas. I hadn’t realised that he incorporated natural materials into the paints he uses and onto the surface of the canvas. Experimenting with ways of incorporating nature into art, I decided to explore mixing nature into paint myself which turned out to be unsuccessful as it wasn’t creating a deep enough connection but pushed me to develop my work and encouraged me to think about ways of integrating nature without art materials like man-made paint and aided my progression.
3.Stuart Cairns: Artist Tool Making The Drawing as experience field module introduced me to Stuart Cairns. He makes drawing tools out of found objects, sometimes natural materials other times not. I am highly influenced by his work and it encouraged me to explore making my own natural tools to paint and draw with which have turned out to be integrated into my final and most recent work. Exploring the marks that each tool makes and considering them as art objects themselves I have discovered a connection to nature by making marks with it.
4. Andy Goldsworthy: Realising the Potential in Nature. Andy Goldworthy gives me confidence in the fact that presenting art and nature together can emit a connection to a more natural environment. His work demonstrates the potential of nature and displays a connection with it. Even though he works out in the surrounding, his work is very inspiring to me and pushed me to use natural materials for Art Making.
5.Richard Long: Mud Paintings. Richard Long’s work relates to my work and ideas in a variety of ways. He experiences Nature, collaborated with it, brings it into the gallery space as well as producing land art, but the most influential area of his practice for me were his mud paintings. His work inspired me to explore making my own paint’s from nature and more deeply investigate the possibilities that nature has to offer to my art.
My Space is set up for assessment. After seeing the size of the wall I had been given, I decided to display the landscape mark making experiments I produced on hand-made paper using my tools as well as the original plan of the three paintings, the tools and paints. I am very pleased with how the display looks. I have kept it quite minimal and I think it looks clean and proffessional.
Statement about my Display of Work
Natural Landscapes have for a long time, been a subject of artworks. John Piper’s ideas about creating an experience of being in a place within a painting and his work “The Rocky Valley” got me thinking about how some landscape paintings today document landscape visually but don’t really connect with the nature within the place. I started thinking about how I could create connections between art and nature and expose people to nature in a world that is becoming increasingly urbanized and technological. After much experimentation, investigating how to work with the natural world within the art world, I decided to create a final body of work to bring my experimentation together and consolidate my findings. Three Natural Paintings, accompanying hand-made equipment and sixteen tool mark making experiments framed with twigs make up the space. The Colour Palette is dictated by Nature alone. Within this work, the landscape type images themselves have come from nature, the shapes of sticks dictated the form of the mountain shapes (these are displayed below the paintings). Inspired by my Field Modules, I have used elements from nature to both create the paints I have painted with and the tools with which I applied the paint. I have chosen to display the tools and paints that I have made on shelves with the outcomes as I see them as artworks in their own right and give the audience an insight into how the work was produced and visibly show the relationship between art and nature that I am portraying.
I now just need to display the jars of paint on the top shelf and my space for assessment and an exhibition is complete.
Assessment is looming and we have been asked to display work that showcases our subject work and displays links from the field modules undertaken within it. Supporting work and sketchbooks will be placed on a table below. I have drawn a proposed plan of my wall space.
I have decided to display three outcomes. Each image will be of a landscape taken from the shape of twigs I have found out in the environment. I will display the twig shapes underneath the paintings. The paintings will be produced from natural paints that I have ground and made myself and the paint will have been applied with tools that I have made from natural materials, inspired by my field modules. I will also display the paints I make in jars with labels on them on a shelf and another shelf below will display the tools I have made as I believe both these elements can be considered as artworks in their own right. The whole display will showcase a connection and relationship between art and nature. I have been exploring how I can link the two through a variety of ways within my subject work and I believe this display will portray that connection.