Category Archives: Portfolio

Portfolio

‘Fragile Memories’

 

‘Fragile Memories’ is a personal response to the rapid changes we are experiencing in our environment.

The project began in 2012 with an artist residency at Bær Arts Center in the north west of Iceland, where volcanic activity is constant and the rising water from Arctic glaciers is gradually re-shaping the land—one of the most recent land masses on the planet.

Thin Sekishu paper soaked in the ocean at the fjord’s edge and carefully moulded into the nearby volcanic basalt rock, is peeled away to create an almost indelible skin of memory.

In California, wetted Sekishu paper pressed into the bark of our ancient coastal redwoods, is drawn into with graphite to accentuate the fine detail. The paper when dry becomes like an intricately mapped cutaneous membrane—a skin of memory from the tree, who had itself ‘collaborated’ by randomly impregnating the paper with its own brown coloring.

The redwood is a very old type of tree that once, surviving fire and cataclysm, abundantly inhabited the planet. The oldest seed, found by scientists in Antarctica dates back to the Triassic period, about 240 million years ago. As global warming develops, researchers predict that our majestic redwoods could play a major role in reducing the effect of climate change on the planet. In an unprecedented growth spurt it appears that redwoods are sequestering the extra atmospheric carbon in their wood. 

These fine translucent skins, a fragile record of an ancient collective life form and the delicate memory of a seemingly dense rock form, is my way of record keeping, paying tribute to the largest natural living organism on the planet and of our earth that has sustained us.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/14/redwood-trees-climate-change_n_3756564.html

‘Fragile Memories’ forms part of a solo retrospective show at Vessel Gallery, Oakland, July 3 – August 8, 2015.

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FRAGILE MEMORIES, A Solo Retrospective Show at Vessel Gallery, Oakland, July – August 2015

The work presented in my solo show at Vessel Gallery in Oakland ranged from the ‘Language of Light’ sculptures from a 1996 solo show at Butler Gallery in Ireland, to recent work created in Iceland and California—see Homepage for more detail.

Whilst putting together this retrospective show, connecting themes became evident: translucency, delicacy, contrasting materials and partnership with nature. Moving to California and the Santa Cruz Mountains from London in 1997 was a grounding experience for me, as seen in ‘Counterbalance’  the first sculpture made in California. I remember witnessing a neighbor harvesting  his redwoods for profit. It made me aware of the imbalance we are creating in nature and our inability to see the results of our actions.

After experimenting with video, and the photographic portraits of moths in 2007 – 2011, I had a desire to make a stronger connection to the land. I needed  to listen and to communicate more deeply with nature. The resulting work ‘Fragile Memories’, although delicate and almost ethereal in appearance, has a material strength which holds an  indelible memory of it’s mineral and botanical host.

 

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Papillons de Nuit, 2011

Papillons de Nuit—Butterflies of the Night—are the night visitors, photographed every evening on my lighted window, deep in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Attracted to the light, the moth has entered mythology and inspired poetry as a symbol of devotion and sacrifice in many cultures. Paradoxically, our common wisdom dismisses the moth as unpleasant, and it is often extinguished with the glancing blow of the hand.

Using macro photography and video, I present the exquisite detail and beauty of the common moth as portraits—every one an individual in its intricacy and diversity to be seen and appreciated as they disappear in our ever challenged environment.

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Zero Waiting, 2005

 


 

ZERO WAITING, a video collaboration between visual artist Diana Hobson and experimental sound designer Susan Alexjander, explores the phenomenon of Zero Point Energy. It weaves together sound and visual symbolism to evoke the Quantum Field from which all life emerges.
The installation was first presented at the Salt Gallery, Hayle, Cornwall, England in August 2005.
In opposite moving cycles, two identical videos, one playing in reverse, create a symbolic journey connecting everything we see with our conscious eye to all things outside our comprehension, from our inner space to the deep space of the universe. Sound frequencies capture the invisible, bringing knowledge to our senses like the quantum imprinting of waves upon each other.

With video as our medium, we present the viewpoint that everything that exists emerges from the same source and life in all its forms, from micro to macro, is inextricably connected.

 

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The River, 2003


INTO BEING – THE RIVER
Into Being – The River, first shown at the Museum of Art and History in Santa Cruz, California in 2003, was a collaboration between visual artist Diana Hobson and sound designer Susan Alexjander. “In a video installation of the element of water (the river), poetry, with sounds and frequencies of elemental and subtle form, we hope to trigger and awaken in our ancient consciousness a cellular memory as old as First Thought, a strand of vital DNA in the multidimensional chain of being” ( from press coverage – DH 2003).

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Elemental Traces, 2000


Ferns are amongst the first plants to inhabit the land. Perhaps, way back in the eons of time humankind shared a common ancestor with the plant life of our planet? Perhaps, stored in our DNA we share an ancient memory

“We remember,
another place,
swathed in the mists of the un- named.
a point of consciousness
retrieved from the aeons of time,
not audible before this moment”.

Within the fern house, the heat, the smell of the earth,dense foliage and the filtering light bombard the senses. Under the canopy of the tall tree ferns, clusters of glass spirals (the language of these trees) collect and diffuse natural Light.  Within a secluded corner, circled by small tree ferns, glass rods form the pattern of a Diatom, the ancient single cell organism, which still inhabits the oceans, is  embedded to the earth. From this place a primitive vortex of sounds emerge, awakening ancient collective memory and evoking a primal connection to our place in the natural order of life.

Elemental Traces were installations at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, Scotland in 2000 by artists Diana Hobson in the Fern House, Keiko Mukaide in the Arid Lands House and Lens based artist, Craig Mackay in the Caledonian Hall.

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Balance Series, 1999

 

DELICATE BALANCE SERIES – red concrete, glass and bronze. As the work developed, so did the growing awareness of the crisis point we, Mankind have reached in our relationship to the planet.“Pillars of red concrete rise up from the earth – man-made structures becoming glass.

“A slender twig finds a Fingerhold, the same twig pivots On The Edge and a strand of kelp – protector from the sea – is poised tentatively as the Counterbalance on the Beam Scale”. Fingerhold – height 54 inches (138cm), On The Edge – height 46 inches (117cm), Counterbalance – height 59 inches (150cm)
Balance Series was first shown in ‘Past Recipients of the Rakow Commission’ at the Margo Jacobsen Gallery, Portland, Oregon, USA in 1999.

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