19 June 2013

Walk On, passing through an exhibition

Exhibition - Walk On: 40 years of Art Walking, Pitzhanger Manor House

The Walk Book and CD, Janet Cardiff, 2005. Walks in Paris, London, and New York.

I am sitting on a park bench in Ealing and switch on Janet Cardiff’s narrative. Instantly I am connected to her reality, she is sitting on a park bench, in the very different urban environment of Central Park, New York. She describes children on bikes passing by and exactly at the same moment children cycle past me, here in London. I listen to more descriptions but wander off in my mind as a cat has just approached and a group of people gather round to stroke it. A choir is practising: she explains’ I am very bad at linear working; I use an open ended narrative, skipping from one thing to another’. I listen to more fragments as she passes through the streets of New York and begins to distinguish memory from perception. ‘In pure memory the temporal sequence of events is shattered’. I agree with that but start to lose interest. No longer able to connect to her continuing observations, I realise that listening to this narrative is displacing me from being here, now. Police sirens pass in the distance, was it here, or there in Central Park? 
Janet Cardiff would like to ‘move a whole room like a time machine from London to New York’. I think she just moved a park.

Simon Pope, A Common Third
Simon Pope, A Common Third

We meet walking artist Simon Pope, we cross the park and chat without really noticing what's around. He escorted us out of the park as his contribution in 'Walk On'. We re-enter and admire the blossom and trees on the way back. We sit at the kiosk, eat ice cream and people watch.

2 June 2013

Walking and Drawing in Snowdonia

Four days, walking and drawing on remote mountains in Snowdonia, focusing on the rhythmic sound of walking and sounds of the surrounding landscape through the Zoom mic headphones. I first notice how easily I climb the steep gradient to the lake, listening has changed the emphasis, drawing attention away from the usual dominant visual clues of distance. Walking in silence with a new focus on listening has created a different atmosphere and altered my experience of the landscape. Confusingly, it has become internalised and at the same time a vaster space. It is quiet, sounds are distant, the mist occasionally lifts over the ridge and sun glints through from behind it. I stop and draw at a rest point

Up towards lake
Up towards lake

Shifting mists

My focus shifts; switching from listening to seeing, the steep incline of the path becomes more physical, more demanding. By focusing on the rhythm of walking I hadn't noticed how quickly I gained height, the remote mountain ridge now dominates. I try to respond with quick drawings of the ever changing mists that cover and uncover the varied contours ahead. I recognise Turner’s problems and how he used the advantages of a misty effect to accentuate distance in his work, confusing altering and denying form he develops his idea with and in the mist. His structures do not merely describe what is underneath it.

Walter Thombury, The Life and Correspondence of JMW Turner

Drawn from the National Gallery- pencil on small sketch book Jill Evans

J.M.W. Turner's The  Moon Behind Clouds 1825

J.M.W. Turner's  Moonlight with Shipping 1830