‘We are sounding boards for one another… we have a shared experience in a place’
Exploring a small footprint of the West Somerset coastline from Watchet, Sara Dudman and Jenny Graham record a creative journey and interpret their own practice through this unfamiliar territory.
Having previously explored other unfamiliar territories, their artistic partnership is a continuation of periods spent in Cornwall, Northumberland and North Yorkshire. Specifically, the pair will address their contrasting work from the coastlines and quaysides of Staithes in North Yorkshire and Watchet in West Somerset.
Investing part of their Winter in Watchet, the artists withdrew to their studios to reflect on this intensive period of research and information gathering.
Their work surrounds themes of desolation and disintegration through a contemporary approach to landscape painting. From the same location that JMW Turner once depicted Watchet in ‘Picturesque Views of the Southern Coast of England’, the pair explore the function of an artist within the same landscape today.
Sara Dudman found silent reflection compared to the harsh North Yorkshire coastline. The expanse of silt and eroded shorelines gave contrast to the massive theatre of Yorkshire’s monumental cliffs. Sketching at the water’s edge, she confronted the traces of rocks obscuring the deserted beaches like sea defences. Painting with gesso and watercolour on paper, she exploits layers of activity and reduces her imagery to only essential information; like the coastal wash that deposits and exposes in its wake.
Jenny Graham collected natural and man-made ephemera, her journey being a nostalgic recalling of blustery seaside weekends around the UK. The information that Graham collected, be it natural deposits along the beach or postcards of the area, worked themselves back into her practice in a method called photo-etching. Natural soils became pigment, postcards became platforms. Orderly and evocative, Graham’s approach to her practice layered imagery to create an aesthetic of regeneration with its origin in the tidal wash of land meeting sea.
Unfamiliar Territories, Contains Art, Somerset, 6 – 29th May 2017
Promotional film: https://youtu.be/aM5X75_IEt4