‘Mosty Ponad Czasem’ ‘Timeless Bridge’ Poland
This artwork titled ‘Mosty Ponad Czasem’ ‘Timeless Bridge ’ was made for the Land Art Festival Poland 2015. It’s made near the Bug River, which is on the border of Poland and Belarus, we were not allowed to cross the river and there was several visits from the Polish army….
The main form of the work is inspired by both a bird’s eye view and microscopic views of the river. Firstly the ox tail shapes that the river makes as it snakes through this part of the landscape and the microscopic view of the sphagnum moss which grows in the forest adjacent to the river.
It also incorporates the Hartig net, the interconnected network of roots that links moss, trees, mushrooms and plants so they can share their nutrients and create a healthy forest, which seemed like a good metaphor and a real occurrence in this ecological system. ‘Mosty Ponad Czasem’ ‘Timeless Bridge’ comments there are no borders in this ancient landscape there are only connections and relationships between the people and the land that surrounds the Bug River.I was inspired by Robert a local photographer who took portraits of the artists lying in their work or with their tolls and materials, http://landart.lubelskie.pl/landart_gallery/portrety-ekipy-festiwalu-w-obiektywie-roberta-pranagala/ )(I lay inside my work andthen took photos of others also).
As Above So Below – Sculpture By The Sea, Aarhus
I was inspired by the Hartig Net, the interconnected root network that exists under the forest floor through which trees, fungi, moss and other plants share their nutrients. This beech forest is known for this. Using the shapes from the micropscopic view of the net I used peat (black mud/clay) found at a bog/wetland about 500 from the site and the beautiful moss to recreate landscape lost through erosion. For Birds eye view I used birch bark, stones and shells to show how water moves through the landscape washing away the soil as it dances its way to the ocean.
I have been in Aarhus for a month to research and create the artwork. When I started exploring the landscape and working out my materials, I was led to the Moesgaard Museum. Opened last year, it has a great mix of interactive technology and artefacts describing the history of the area, starting with the People of the Sun, the ancestors of this land. One of the exhibits showed, how around the last glacial period the water flooded large parts of the landscape bringing people to live together in organised settlements. The holographic image moved from forest and scattered homes to wetlands(bogs), agriculture and ‘streetstyle’ villages. I was drawn to this moment where a climatic shift, water moving into the landscape completely altered this land and its’ people. (I do not in anyway want to present this as a comprehensive view- it was only a moment that I experienced from this exhibition, with a little online research) It felt like I was witnessing the “removal from the garden (of Eden)‘. It brought me home to our indigenous elders in Australia and the benefits/wisdom of the hunter gatherer style of living and being with the land. Also to climate change and the issue with sea levels rising and the unknown roll on effects of changes in our biosphere. The idea of the garden and reclaiming some of our lost connection to nature using science and systems found in the living landscape created frameworks this sculpture.
Regenerative and Restorative Art Practice.
For art practice to become a social experience, it must move beyond the individual subjectivities of the maker into the public realm. This form of social practice impacts upon the viewer creating a form of experiential knowledge that generates new understandings. This is precisely what Elaine Clocherty’s creative practice does, whether it is in the natural world or in the gallery context.
Clocherty’s practice is wide-ranging, from site-specific ephemeral sculptures, gallery sculptures and photography, workshops with adults and children, art trails and regenerating spaces with planting. Her practice is diverse, however, what binds all these forms together is her deep connection to the earth and how best to communicate this to her audience. She extends her work to create spaces for interaction that develop ecological awareness, creative communities and sustainable thinking that add to our overall wellbeing and sense of belonging in the world.
Environmental protection is arguably the single most important issue that we as global citizens currently face. Anthony Giddens debates how to approach these concerns given that “there are few aspects of our surrounding material environment that haven’t been in some way affected by human intervention. Much of what used to be natural isn’t completely natural any more”. We need to be reminded of this, however it should not be looked upon as debilitating or constrictive. We have a responsibility to the natural world, and there are actions we can take as communities and individuals to help negotiate the situation. This is the communicative role of Clocherty’s art, which simultaneously highlights the beauty of the natural world, yet alerts us to its fragility, and perhaps most importantly our concomitant role within this complex dynamic.
Clocherty’s evocative art interventions in the landscape and gallery context over the last twelve years have been shown, locally, nationally and internationally, in sculpture parks such as Piney Lakes (2009), her extensive working in the South West of Western Australia, her recent work at the 2010 Byron Bay Sculpture Biennial, and gallery work such as the recent Mandorla Art Prize (2010). Clocherty’s very humanist work demonstrates her active role in creating and promoting art that embodies a community-orientated connection to nature.
Dr Nicola Kaye, July 2011.