After the miniature works completed for the SAA competition, I had a real burst of inspiration. Working tinier still I subdivided an A3 page of 300gsm watercolour paper into 18 sections. Referring to the sketches I had made the other day I selected the most expressive lines and transferred them to the mini cards. I limited the drawing area but cutting a small circle stencil so that the line would be confined within this area.
After that I worked with the splattering and dripping and application of asemic script in black ink and watercolour and red watercolour.
These emerged other-to-myself. I’ve had to wait until some daylight to accurately photograph each drawing. This pause for reflection has been useful since I’ve been considering the connections between the pieces. Do I cut them up into the individual cards, leave them as they are, turn them into pages of a book? The more I look the more I realise what I have in front of me is some kind of dictionary of inner language to mood-my own interpretation of hurt/harm/ abuse trauma: a translation through my inner language. Is it a field guide? An Encyclopaedia? Spotters guide? Trackers’ notes? I am taken with the idea of this working as a series which could be extended and explored with different colours signifying different collections. The looks too much like id cards for me to leave the series untitled.
I like the idea of these relating to creatures within a landscape with their own markings and identifying features. Each has their own identity – a topography. Yes, this is it: since Topography is the study of the shape and features of the surface of the Earth and other observable astronomical objects including planets, moons, and asteroids. Perhaps I could stretch this to my inner topography. This is something exciting to capture my enquiry with. As the topography of an area could refer to the surface shapes and features themselves; this opens opportunity for textile exploration, and finally there is breadth for word play- the descriptive element of topography. Which reminds me, there is the beautiful ‘Topography of Tears’ artwork by Rose-Lynn Fisher: in her accompanying text she clarifies she is not ‘making any Scientific claims in my work though, nor any declarations about anything except perhaps the poetry of life.’ These works I’m making search for my inner language, the inner poetry that speaks the unspeakable, they are my ‘Topography of Concealed/Hidden Harm’ and I want to leave each ‘plate’ as only having a numerical value in order to allow interpretation by the viewer. I’ve oscillated between the words ‘concealed’ and ‘hidden’. Hidden being the past of ‘hide’ which takes its roots from ‘hide’ and in an animals’ skin – so to be ‘under the skin’, conceal has its roots in Latin ‘concelare’ from which we also get the term ‘cellar’ and ‘cell’ (which is both a room and the scientific cell – the cavity in an organism). To me harm is something that invaded, and hid itself even from me. It got under my skin. I didn’t make a space to secrete it which is the sense I’m getting for conceal. Conceal seems more active, hidden more passive. I thought I had escaped unharmed but it is only later after the healing begins that hurt can be revealed. Maybe I ignore all this and simply entitle the series ‘Topography of Harm’ after all that!
So, I release my brain to unlocking the enquiry that offers itself up to me – could require the invention of index and glossary and appropriate book form, the generation of volumes, editions, new series…it will also keep my mind ticking over as a transition from the end of MMT to assessment to commencing my next course and continues to explore strands that have surfaced from Part 5. When I send MMT for assessment I know I will have to freeze activity on this blog, so I have already decided I will go back to use the blog that I opened for ATV. I can then rotate between the 2 blogs.
‘Topography of Harm’ Series. Exhibits 1-18