Jill Wann (2013-2014)

What it is to exist…

“The things that I loved were very frail. Very fragile. I didn’t know that. I thought they were indestructible. They weren’t.”

Cormac McCarthy The Sunset Limited

McCarthy echoes Cartesian thinking: i.e. that acknowledging the fallibility of our senses (from which our experience of the world is drawn) necessarily evokes fundamental doubt, since beyond the Cartesian Cogito, we can be absolutely certain of nothing. I am interested in how such intrinsic uncertainty, once encountered, can undermine notions of perceived ‘reality’, as, without foundational solidity everything begins to dissolve, becoming slippery, elusive and intangible.

Using colour (itself ontologically uncertain) as a medium, my postgraduate work aimed to evoke this sensation by researching how it may be possible to create an ambiguous surface, seeking to destabilise/undermine it by blurring boundaries (the sfumato alluding to the vaporous, transient quality of life) and setting up visual experiences that aimed to question our perception of where, and what colour is.

This year, my practical research has considered the notions of inexorable brevity, loss and transition by exploring traces (or echoes) of events and the passage of time.I have been developing a body of work, ‘Exhale’, aiming to visually capture this physical event in various ways, using breath to disperse pigment on various papers, and fibres during the process of papermaking itself; and also by using camera-less photography techniques on both handmade and manufactured light sensitive papers, and X-Ray film.

Currently, I am moving towards the development of a new body of work to investigate the prolonged, embedded, observable colour (and molecular) interaction/disintegration of specific pigments on various prepared paper grounds over time.

Jill gained a BA(Hons) in Fine Art at Northumbria University (2012, First Class) and was subsequently awarded AHRC (Research Preparation Master’s) funding to study for her MA (Fine Art) for which she gained a Distinction (2013).

She was Graduate Fellow in Paper Studio Northumbria (2013-14) enabling her to continue her postgraduate research. She has shown work both nationally and internationally.