Exhibition at Taigh Chearsabhagh Loch Maddy, North Uist March/April 2010
New work by Charlotte Watters.
My work is influenced by thinking about connection and relationships to landscape. I am interested in what it is that makes us return to a land, in reality, or in our minds and metaphors: what is compelling about it.
Through my research and investigations into this subject and through manipulation and exploration of materials, working with formal or abstracted visual imagery, I make work which refers both to landscape and to triggers and memories associated with places, not easy to pin down.
The landscape I have been looking into has been one formative to my own memories and one which has continually inspired me, a Highland Land, and recently an Iceland, Island landscape. Having recently completed a residency in Iceland, January 2010, I have had the opportunity to return to, and experience a northen landscape and places so often relevant and referred to in my work.
History of a place can help develop the notion of its landscape, giving more imagery and insight to expand and enrich the sense of it. Stories and artefacts: silver found buiried in hoards, take with them the allure of the place, and in doing so, enrich the land they come from.
The title of this exhibition, The Hover Fields, refers to the indefinable connections between emotions, knowledge, memory and reality. These contributing factors which all add to our understanding and personal relationship with land, interrelate to a varying degree, and indeed inspire our strongest emotions towards familiar landscape. Familiar scenery is “both what we see and what we half create” (W. Wordsworth). This going between reality and internal impression seems to be affecting a shimmer like heat hovering on a horizon, something that cannot be pinned down
Charlotte Watters 2010
The Hover Feilds
“landscapes are culture before they are nature, constructions of the imagination projected onto wood and water and rock” Simon Schama Landscape and Memory
‘Landscape’ is a mental interpratation of physical places. Seen through our minds landscape from a very basic point can not be seen purly as land. As humans we are destined to always look for sustaining aspects, shelter and food, and to be aware of drama and osterity: potental danger, which we can if inclined, see from our perspective now as thrilling or wonderfull.
Being able to enter landscape at our will, we have it as a play ground.
The phisical land can give us as much as we want: a walk in a garden, to life threating exposure or solitude. The real land some times as harsh as it is is enjoyed on return, after the event, once you are back. When it can enter your mind and memory, form the perspective of confort.
The land and landscapes also enter ones mind through imagery projected from a cultural perspective. Influenced by historys, stories, explorers, photography and film, painting and poetry , sicence and discovery.
The North is a recurring lure to many (prehaps to those from the northen hemisphere). This direction offers mystery and wonder, a route to find unexplored wilderness, and beauty? These lures must be cultural, this desire to take ourselves to extreems of the harsh and difficult, and maybe through that potentaly we may find somthing unknown, wonderfull ‘sublime’. This is not a new tendancy of course, there have been trade routes and exploration parties for centuries into northen lands. These have only added to its alure, and image. Photographs of mountains, rocks and ice, black and white and blue, stories of polar exploration fill the inclined with exitment and wonder. Even the words and names of these place hold increadable resonance. Greenland.
We can follow the north, but it is like a rainbow, it jumps out of reach. Where ever we are there is always somewhere north of us (for those who havent been to the pole) The same for anything we explore, or chace, our route leads us on. Svalbard
We search. As a species we are perhaps inclined to explore, to find out what is round the corner, over the horizon, what is where we are not. Whither we are explorers or not, this sensibility follows us all, to some degree. For us all: we also have these notions of discovery and place, through its imagery. Notions which add to our understanding of landscape.
And then there is our own history, and owr own formative memories. Our eyes- closed, internal sence of place. Our history and own own dialouges with the land, not from ‘The National Geographic’, but from our experiences. These may not have words. It might be other sences which conger them. A small place, a ripple, not the vast but the personal.
My Grandmother from the north formed these words, on a thread of memory, to put her back in mind of the imporant and loved places, when she was far from them. In hospital, in distant voice she said, the little hilly, the grassy rock. I knew exactly where she ment, not a perticlar rock but a place, a feeling. I too have absorbed these as interiors, these fragments of landscape, playing in them, visiting them. At the time not knowing it but these are my foundations. As they were hers. With 70 years between us our landscapes were not so different.
So we have it all in our heads?
The pattern of the land and stone and water: its sounds, the smell of rain after the sun, the feel of bog cotten rubed on our chin, taste of brambles, memories and cut out photos of icebergs and seal skin trousers.
But we still want and need to go. To remind ourselves we are right, or to find something new, what is over theh horizon? Or to place ourselves in this backdrop, to imortilise ourselves with the infanite.
My work, and I am influenced by each of these contributing factors, and ones I don’t know of. I make work which is physical like the land but abstracted like our thoughts, not easy to pin down. Exterior references brought inside.