Bury Art Museum, 2015
The piece offers an imagining of lost but cherished sites; the orchard ruined by neglectful pomology, accidental burning, unseasonal rain and swollen rivers, the boatyard needlessly kept hidden (safe) for so long it has been entirely forgotten and rendered useless.
Two ways in which places previously full of promise and sublime human endeavour slip through the fingers as we rush towards the faster, shinier, air conditioned world of the long tomorrow and cannot stop to adapt the useless, mend the broken or share the skills, to start again.
In a world filled with the struggle for fixed identities played out through threats about penetrated borders, there is a danger that protecting territory will lead to isolation and that striding forward will end with an empty past.
Drowned Orchard: Secret Boatyard remembers the failure of wooden boats, the danger of deep oceans, spirits inhabiting clusters of trees and the imagined poetry of the simple life. It attempts to evoke a deep unease with ‘the other’, a confusing encounter between cross cultural objects and patterns overlaid by an unrealistic desire to learn again how to start from nothing.
Sixteen paintings on wood are leaning at ever-increasing angles against the wall spreading into the room, looking ready to be altered and made into a new boat, a new shelter, a new copse; if only there was someone left who knew how to do it.
Photos: ©Denise Swanson FBIPP