‘…the artist does not simply dwell in a place but collaborates with place. The collaboration is more than hospitality; it is a small gesture in a specific place, which bridges different lives.’ (Papastergiadis, 2006:149).
To sit and be still and to absorb a sense of place, this is my core interest as an artist. My research investigates how to communicate an experience of, and relationship to, the landscape; how to acknowledge what has been in the past and what remains in the present. In recent years geographers have used the concept of ‘deep mapping’ to articulate a multi-layered, interdisciplinary approach to landscape experiences. As Shanks and Pearson say,
‘the deep map attempts to record and represent the grain and patina of place through juxtapositions and interpenetrations of the historical and the contemporary, the political and the poetic, the factual and the fictional, the discursive and the sensual … everything you might ever want to say about a place’. (Shanks and Pearson 2001:65)
I am interested in what is specifically involved when a visual arts practitioner addresses deep mapping, in particular, in the response to the temporality intrinsic in our experience of place. My most recent work explores drawing through erasure on paper maps, using methods such as cutting, slicing, sanding and crumpling. These particular interventions, I suggest, function as a developing vocabulary of mark making. Erasing maps leaves them both located and dislocated, with place names or geological features removed they might be anywhere, yet what remains is a form of representation of a specific place. By discriminatory removal, using an interruption in the surface of the paper to intimate other possibilities for place, I aim to question the authority imbibed in maps and investigate whether concealment of data results in an alternative clarity.
Clare is currently undertaking her PhD project,”The Tensions and Contradictions Between the ‘Deep Map’ and the Artist’s Sense of Place”.
Header image: ‘Fluid’, paper and tippex, 75x50cm, 2014.