Video and Drawing installation, 2021
This body of work was commissioned by North Lincolnshire Museum, as a response to William Smith’s famous and historic 1815 Geological Map. My response considers the map alongside the museum’s own fossil collection. I was inspired by how Smith’s map makes visible the physical ‘stuff’ beneath our feet but also the dimension of time. The title is taken from a quote by the man himself. For Smith, this map was a practical way to reveal the interconnectivity of widely dispersed materials and processes that would otherwise lay beyond human apprehension. Beyond their scientific use, maps are often admired as much for the beauty of its execution, and Smith is an exquisite example of such an artefact.
My response seeks to reveal the underlaying formation of drawings while revelling in the surface materiality of the resulting artefacts. A series of drawings presented in light boxes, show the record of the interaction between the materials triggered by the artist’s gestures. The paper, the water and the ink react with each other to form layers, shapes, ridges, boundaries, regions, rivers, strata in their own terms. The video work discloses this very process by combines close-up observations of the drawings with close-ups of the maps and fossils from the collection, in particular the Gryphaea fossils which are tightly linked to the very existence of Scunthorpe. Rather than represent, the installation seeks to evoke and re-enact the underlaying earthly processes that Smith sought to capture.