Over the field module ‘things behind the sun’, we visited three different places, these included; Pembrokeshire which was filled with beautiful landscape that I adored and which inspired by Subject module, Neath Valley which was full of nature and waterfalls and Port Talbot which had the most influence over my work within Field. The hard machinery and industrialisation contrasting to the natural lines of the beach, sea and rock formations inspired to look at human involvement in nature and the effects that has on landscapes. I began by monoprinting, basing textures of nature on my previous 100 images from Pembrokeshire. However, because I did not feel as though I could actually represent nature without using it itself, I began experimenting with using wood and the textures it naturally has. The more I worked with wood, the further I drifted from print and began experimenting with sculptural art work after being inspired by Betty Mcgeehan. I found this very interesting as I am a painter and haven’t worked as a sculptor before. Because of this, I was able to experiment in different ways and expand on this skill, which I wouldn’t have done if I had not been doing this module. I would like to continue to look into wood work as I develop my work as I find it a very interesting material to work with. On the wood that I had required, I started to experiment with how to create man-made textures to create contrast, such as sawing into the wood and burning it while focusing on my thoughts of industrialisation and deforestation, which I believe are key examples of humans influence over nature. The burning and wooden logs represent deforestation, where the sawed lines embody industrialisation. All of these marks contrast greatly to the natural marks and curves of the wood. Putting all of the wood together, along with the contrasting man-made textures I have placed into the wood using assorted tools, I believe that it represents deforestation as the wood takes the form of cut down trees. This lead me to build a tree out of cut up logs to represent how once we destroy nature, there is no bringing it back. I wanted to show the natural patterns within the wood, so sanded down the hard exterior to reveal the smooth natural marks from the wood. I then stacked the logs together creating the trunk of the tree. The fact that the logs don’t fit together only supports the idea behind the sculpture further, almost like a jigsaw puzzle of a forest landscape, highlighting the idea that the damage we cause to nature and landscapes is irreversible.
For my second field module, I visited Morocco over the course of a week. I had already been to Morocco a few months before this trip during Ramadan and I know quite a lot about the culture and religion of the people in Morocco, from the history of the medina and how tourism is a large aspect of their lives. Because my previous visit was during Ramadan, I already had an interest in the Muslim religion and the culture of Muslim people due to the strict rules within the Quran, my interest in this only increased with my second visit. I know that material is very important in Morocco, especially Pashmina and leather, however, I do not agree with the use of leather due to personal beliefs and wanted to avoid things like leather making and activities that involve the exploitation of animals such as camel riding. Due to being a fine artist who specialises in painting landscapes, I am particularly interested in nature and the nature within in Morocco particularly appealed to me. The small sections of tranquillity within the busy city were beautiful and were respected widely among the people. These small gardens as well as a trip up the Atlas mountains inspired me to look at nature within the Muslim culture in more detail and adapt it into my work. After my trip to Morocco I came away with a stronger appreciation for the Muslim religion. I think this is due to seeing the amount of people going to the Mosques and respecting the environment even when not in the holy month of Ramadan. I paid particular interest in the Arabic language. This started with a visit to the synagogue where I was able to look through the old Hebrew books full of beautiful patterns. I am also fascinated with the idea that they read from right to left unlike in English. However, there is a very little Jewish community in Morocco, so I began paying more attention to the Arabic language rather than Hebrew. It is this that my project was based on, using the Quran as a key aspect to represent the religion. The Arabic language is made up of beautiful patterns, with dashes and dots used to express accents. Putting that with the Quran, which I find beautiful in itself, represents what I find Morocco to be, using stitch to represent the material aspect of Morocco. This is very different to my usual work but I feel that it accurately describes how I felt about Morocco. I chose white fabric for multiple reasons, as it symbolizes purity and peace – often worn when attending Friday prayers. It is also worn when performing sacred rites of pilgrimage and is what the Umayyads chose to wear for their battle standards when they fought the Abbassid during the Caliphate period, and it has appeared on many Islamic flags since
These field modules, although very different, link to each other as they both contain elements of landscape and nature, however they have very different approaches to work. Wood work and sculpting is a very heavy and bulkier task, whereas stitching is a very delicate technique, especially when it also includes the Arabic language which is already very intricate. However, it can be considered that since my focus within the woodwork is the original textures and patterns found in the trees, both projects focus on the intricate behaviours of both nature and beliefs.
I have learnt a lot from these modules, and how to approach things differently. Wood work and textiles are not my usual area of work and I learnt many new skills that I can adapt into my future studio practice, such as sculpting, which is a strong aspect of art work when looking at landscapes and natural surroundings, but also how to create small details in a medium other than paint, which can also be adapted into paintings onto multiple materials.
Both projects had some sort of influence on my subject work, (mainly ‘things behind the sun’), due to them both involving elements of being outside completely immersed in my surroundings. It was also where I originally began drawing and painting outdoors using the 100 small images, and what originally inspired me to base my subject work on my travel experiences. I feel like creating art work while experiencing the subject in question, gives a more accurate representation of the feelings and atmosphere. Whereas creating from memory or photos, gives a more literal representation, which was not what I was aiming for.
It was in these projects, that I began to realise my passion for nature. The piece of tranquillity and wilderness away from human civilisation, which is what both projects ended up being about, along with my subject work, where my main focus was to get the viewer to understand and feel the same sense of wonder and peacefulness I experience when surrounded by a natural landscape. However, my field projects took a more political meaning, looking at the effects humans have on the environment or looking into the Muslim belief system, where my subject work was more personal.