The Cleaven Dyke, Blairgowrie, 35mm 2015
‘The work which I would like to spend the majority of my time on, the work which I hold closest to my heart, often gets sidelined for the more commercial work which involves in some way working for or with others. This is how I’ve found myself working over these last few years since graduating, trying to feel out the way and the how of being an artist.
I see this residency as an opportunity to advance my personal work and take it to thenew places I have in drawings in sketchbooks – to develop it from the page and out into reality. The dedicated time to further explore the sculptural forms which I have so far only made in simple machete form would mean the realisation of a lot of my hopes for this work.’
Morvern Odling, BCCA Application 2015 (extract)
The residency’s combination of the two sides of being an artist, the solitary and the social, made it a rewarding time for myself and my work. Kate and Duncan were immediately engaging, their lovely home covered in beautiful collections of all sorts felt immediately familiar to me and Blairgowrie another small Scottish town which I felt a kin to. The residency space itself felt ready to receive the work and errant mess that flies from my person, I slept well there and covered the space in bits of fallen cloth.
As much as creation feels a solitary task of studio work and exhibition, the conversation and connection of sharing this life is as much an essential part of being an artist as the solitary work. We talked of life, work and of what it means to be an artist today covering vast swathes of topics and conversations between myself and Kate were full of the big questions as well as more specific to our work discussions.Sun on the Hill, Blairgowrie, 35mm 2015
On the second day Duncan took me out into the land surrounding Blairgowrie and we walked through the land to particular view points and ancient places. Feeling like I hadn’t seen a truly green plant since last year I could hear myself repeating the word green as if in disbelief that such a colour could exist in the world once more. In many more ways the landscape surprised me, maps can tell you a host of things about a place but until you have the lines of the land casting out and around you there is no knowing of a place. The Cleaven Dyke was vast and dwarfed us and my fabric man. Seeing the peice fly on it’s own in the strong wind from a way down the dyke I realised that no camera can fully capture the experience of seeing something live, and it gave me renewed purpose to create and install more permanent sculptural work.
I presented my work at the end of the three days to homemade scones and a round table of interested faces, answering questions reminded me of how others see things and the importance of being able to articulate your ideas.
A rush of time flew past me in those three days and it showed me a glimpse of the way forward in this work. I made and thought about things and then as though it had never happened I was home, but the evidence of my time is now hanging in my studio and adorning the walls: keeping that way open for the next stage.
A further exploration the human form in the landscape, the larger than life figure inflated and coiled with the wind which rushed down the Cleaven Dyke. This ancient human made land form is a cursus monument and one of numerous Neolithic and Bronze Age sites in the surrounding area. We know very little of these places and the people who made them but they are pieces of us, land people whose touches on the earth still show us we where we came from. We exist in more than just our physical forms and long after we are blown away from memory the imprint we leave can be traced by others – we are more than just the bodies we inhabit, more than just the time that we spend. In this way the creation of artwork around, in and of these places can underline their continuing importance in our lives and here we can be as one with the peoples of both the past and the future.
More information on the Cleaven Dyke here