Oak landscape fragments
Oak landscape fragments close up
This project has been born through an initial search for hardwood sawdust in which to grow (or attempt to grow) some phosphorescent mushrooms. Serendipity meant I ended up with oak sawdust; during the pasteurisation process I noticed that the liquid that drained off was a beautiful rich colour. Would it would work as an ink? Initially I started drawing with it at the end of the day after a hectic collage workshop with Andrew Lanyon, I hadn’t drawn for a couple of days and wanted to draw for drawings sake. I still had a couple of bits of blank folded ‘book’ pages lying around and the washed out glue brush. Below are a couple of those drawings. I have experimented with enamels and inks before…leaving them to dry, letting their nature finish the process I have begun. Pools of the oak tree naturally formed and I left them to dry. The resulting patterns are beautiful, some reminiscent of the veins in leaves and microscopic views of materials in nature…rather poetic and cohesive being the direct result of an oak tree, an oak tree re imagined, abstract, simplified.
Two examples of my initial drawings with oak. Each is approximately 210mm by 150mm
Detail from bottom drawing
Detail from top drawing
Oak landscape #5 in transistion…will be photographed as it dries
Oak landscape#5 once it had dried
Oak landscape#5 dried detail. The oak has dried and become brittle, it still retains the sheen but is much more fragile. The liquid used for this piece was the result of the second pasteurisation of the sawdust…maybe the sap content is lower and therefore less viscose? Maybe the temperature for drying was higher? The humidity levels less? (I think the heating in the building may have been turned on between these tests?…I have a larger test in Penryn in a space with no heating but using the second pasteurisation oak so will be interesting to see how that one dries?) These factors will have to be more rigorously investigated before undertaking a larger scale piece; I don’t want consistency in the patterns but there needs to be some in the nature of the dried pieces…maybe? Maybe not…documentation will play an important role in this project. NB: compare with the details from the initial drawings above these images.
Above is a continuation of this project, one litre of oak tree 21.10.14, the password is glandem211014. (If you are viewing this for the first time please watch it until the end…it might seem like there’s nothing happening but keep the faith!).
Image taken straight after the film was made, before any drying had taken place, the reflection is of a gold drawing on the wall…colours are pretty complimentary, it is spot lit but I haven’t goofed around with the levels on photoshop…it’d be good to try out real sunlight on it…probably have to wait until March now…maybe try it out on glass? Shoot landscapes through it, i.e use it as a filter; the world seen through an oak tree. Image taken on 21.10.14
The paper has been secured with panel pins; tape wasn’t strong enough and weights might have affected the contours and created minute low points?
Paper erring on the side of caution; it’s approximately 150cm by 600cm
Below are a series of photographs, taken on the 22.10.14 (the day after the film was made), from the image created for one litre of oak tree. The oak is starting to dry out and I think the images continue along the vein of landscapes that could be microscopic or macroscopic, views from above of a world consisting only of oak and water. The mindmap image is amongst a couple of drawings on the wall that are reflected in some of the images of the oak.
Below are a couple of images from 25.10.14. The oak is starting to ‘treacleify’ and the tide lines continue to retreat…slightly reminiscent of tree rings?
Below are some images from 27.10.14. The drying continues slowly but the oak is becoming more viscose and I think some of the tide lines are definitely starting to resemble tree rings or a thin cross section of a branch or trunk?? Which is exciting.
Here’s some images from 30.10.14, areas are drying out and the intricate patterns are starting to appear! The dried oak is super fragile though, a brush of the finger and parts come off…if it was displayed behind glass in a box frame it might be OK?, maybe movement will also cause it to fall…will have to do some tests. Need to look into preservation techniques, maybe film and photography documentation is the preservation?
oak ring, oak contained within a template as it dried
oak ring detail
oak on gold paper with found collage. the paper is super glossy so the oak has just sat on top rather than soaked in…could be because it’s from the second pasteuriastion?? need to try again on glossy surface using a first pasteurisation oak.
Below are some images of One litre of Oak taken on 7.11.14, I thought that the thicker, slow drying parts would behave differently but they have also cracked and produced the intricate patterns…
one litre of oak, photographed on 7.11.14, completely dry…the patterns are all over it!
here’s a detail from the above; the mould that has grown in places looks a bit like scattered wispy clouds if you were viewing the oak as a giant landscape from high above
This image, from dawnmist.org, shows a part of Dartmoor from above. It shows ancient animal and human paths across the open moorland. Visually it could be compared to the detail from one litre of oak
page#oneoneone & oak framed in the same space
Below are some more experiments/tests I did on 10.11.14
Photograph taken with a handheld camera from the Discovery space shuttle in 1984 of Madagascar’s Betsiboka River. Massive deforestation has led to huge quantities of Madgascar’s red top soil being washed into the the river. Without trees to bind the soil we’re up the shitter. Again this image shares similarities with some of the close up oak images, I think that the visual link and the narrative link are really important and worth pursuing
a close up of the oak landscape and an image of the Madagascan landscape taken from space combined.
Oak ring through Dartmoor paths through leaf veins and hand held photos from space, all resting on several square centimetres of oak, and so it continues.
Examples of Kathy Prendergast’s ongoing series of drawings of cities; I assuning these are from photographs…might be nice to make some drawings/etchings of some of the photographs I have taken of the oak as it dries further exploring the idea of using elements from ‘the natural world’ (all the same world)/species/individuals from other species to provide the composition; to provide the starting point for a drawing or print? What is the point of drawing a close up of the oak? Maybe then it becomes an illustration of an oak tree, or part of one?
This mental photograph is one I’ve carried around for a while. It is from a 1985 National Geographic magazine: “Particle-track pyrotechnics from a bubble-chamber detector flash on a screen at CERN [the European Laboratory for Particle Physics near Geneva, Switzerland]. Debris from subatomic collisions leave distinctive wakes. For instance, electrons and positrons spiral tightly in opposite directions. Computers now sort through such jungles of tracks to pinpoint results significant to experimenters.” The patterns made by the electrons and positrons and their obvious links to the fibonacci sequence is calming somehow? The image produced in this photograph also looks like a tree, it looks more like a ‘tree’ than the close up photographs of the oak tests that are in fact a ‘tree’…again this is becoming part of my attempts to illustrate inter-connectivity!? Sub atomic particles have made a bloody good drawing of a tree, or a representation of a tree if you choose to view it in that way.
…exploring my ramblings in the previous caption here as a visual recombination of a photograph I took of an oak tree near my Mum’s house in North Wales and the electron/positron tree taken in 1985 in CERN, Switzerland. One is a tree made up of sub atomic particles and so is the other; both only exist because of each other if the view of the world that makes most sense to me is to believed. Need to research into the concept of inter connectivity further.
Initial sketches for a couple of drawings done at shit o’clock this morning; ‘phases of oak’ and ‘absence of oak’. Pages 87/88 of research journal #2
Drawing by Gallileo, 1616, of the phases of the moon….nearly 400 years old! Gallileo nailed it. Absolutely beautiful drawings borne out of wanting to record a transient part our universe, I like the idea of drawing phases of the oak drying out, the circle a perfect metaphor for the continual cycle of recombination and idea of interconnectivity.
This is a foray into the world of computer animation and is an experiment. I’ve never done it before and have a lot to learn; I fried my brain one weekend watching tutorials. At present this is the result. Some of the photographs of the dried oak are reminiscent of aerial shots of giant landscapes, of a part of a planet (microscopic or macroscopic). I have used one of these images and turned it into a sphere, wrapped it around a sphere and rotated it through a space, light falling on it as it moves through it’s cycles (inspired by Gallileo’s drawings of the moon). It is a world made of oak in a continual state of change (as it shrinks and grows) full of space. The specks in the background thousands of other worlds doing the same. The scale is up to you…you could be looking at something through a microscope or a telescope, [or something else that hasn’t been thought of yet to look at things we don’t know about yet]
So the background image in ‘After Gallileo’ is a heavily manipulated photograph that has huge personal meaning. It’s a long ol’ story but I was attacked and left for dead in the forest outside a town in Malawi on new year’s eve nearly three years ago. In the aftermath I managed to take a couple of photographs into the blackness in an attempt to photograph my attackers. The images appear totally black but after adjusting the levels it is not total darkness (second image). The third image is a continuation of the second with the fill and opacity levels dropped and a layer dissolve filter added. The specks may seem random but they are loaded with meaning and could be countless planets/microbes inhabiting the space that the oak world spins in…a recombination of things that existed in different spaces, both existing because of each other. [Need to further expand on this need for the combination…it was instinctive and I’m not sure why yet]
So as these projects continue to grow and interconnect with each other what I’m up to; what I’m trying to communicate is becoming clearer: Potentially what underlies all these projects is the idea of interconnectivity; we cannot exist without everything else existing. Providing an audience with the opportunity to walk through an oak tree is an attempt to turn something that appears to be solid and fixed (both in the accepted version of reality and in the preconceptions of our minds) into something transient, something malleable, something that slips between your toes, to ask you to reconsider what a tree looks like; we are all part of one thing, a seemingly infinite thing that is in a continual state of recombination. To be caught inside a murmuration looped and repeated with man made light an opportunity to consider the transient nature of all that we are part of, its continuous state of flux…scale possibly irrelevant, be it microscopic or macroscopic the connection remains. Murmurations of light, the pattern provided by starlings or clouds of microscopic phosphorescence, or even sped up time lapses of galaxies (if that was possible)…the scale unknown and unimportant…all vehicles that could be used to illustrate the fact that everything is connected; transitory moments – beautiful visible parts of the continual interactions and recombinations and flows of energy that allow us all to exist.
CIRCLES: are a brilliant metaphor for this interconnectivity idea and the idea that everything is one. After talking to Catrin, ellipses represent the absence of everything?…I want to work on a meditative hand drawn animation; a line turning into an ellipse through to a circle and back to an ellipse…should this be 360 drawings?…or 90 flipped? Every colour through to white light, every sound through to white noise.
…talking about circles…these creations are absolutely mind blowing. Geometrically perfect and made by the Japanese pufferfish. Imagine a vast space filled with these, after they’ve done the job (impressed a female pufferfish and fertilised her eggs) the ocean current turns the patterns back to sand, a transient experience for the audience (the female pufferfish). A space full of sand transformed into this and then returned back to sand again.
a drawing called an ‘absence of oak’. Not sure where it’s going yet…could be the start of the ellipse to circle and back again forever animation? Not a patch, not even close, nope, nowhere near the work of a tiny slightly spikey fish that lives off the coast of Japan