Based in Orkney UK
My latest Art and Science work was inspired by a Canadian journalist, Alanna Mitchell, whose one man show at the Edinburgh festival in 2019 told the story of the advancing crisis of acidification of the oceans due increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The story was compelling and grim.
I had learned about this phenomenon in ‘ecology’ at uni in 1975. Then, to me, it was all as theoretical as the everlasting lightbulb and the electric car. The question for me, now that it is all coming to pass years before we ever thought it would, is how do I, as an artist, engage with such a big issue? How can I present the Anthropocene?
Acid Tide is the result of various experiments but this is not the final outcome. When I presented the project at a ‘Fusion: Art meets Science’ meeting the idea of responding to other environmental and sustainability issues by ‘putting things in jars’, was suggested then developed and expanded, until it became a multipronged project ‘Jar in Action’ under the enthusiastic leadership of my fellow co-chair, Dr Tom Pratt, neuroscientist and artist, at the University of Edinburgh.
‘Ceci n’est pas un Oak Tree’ is my second response to the ‘Jar in Action’ project: this time thinking about the clearance of ancient woods to make space for human works. When is an oak tree not an oak tree? To answer this I referred to the work of Michael Craig-Martin (1973) whose ‘An Oak Tree’ addresses this question and the iconic work of Rene Magritte (1929) that also speaks volumes on the subject of the influence of the artist and the suspension of belief. With thanks to Richard Buxton, artist, for his help on this project.
I am engaged on an MA at University of Highlands and Islands and am indebted to Dr Antonia Thomas for triggering ideas of the Anthropocene and Anne Bevan for her inspiring Art and the Environment module.
I am currently Co-Chair of the Fusion:Art meets Science group whose aim is to inspire and exhibit new work by connecting people from different disciplines.
Magritte, R. (1929) The Treachery of Images, Los Angeles County Museum of Art online at https://collections.lacma.org/node/239578
Craig-Martin, M. (1973) An Oak Tree, Australian National Gallery online at https://searchthecollection.nga.gov.au/object/116226?keyword=An%20Oak%20Tree&includeParts