The forgotten post - We live with the Land

 I had this all ready to post last month, and then didn't actually do it. Also, I didn't get to see the opening of the exhibition because my car was poorly.

"Cyd-fyw â'r Tir/We live with the Land"  A research project conceived by Dr. Veronica Calarco, funded by a Joy Welch research grant and supported by Stiwdio Maelor.

I have been very fortunate to be part of this project with a group of Wales-based artists, investigating what 'The Land' means to us.  I am perennially conscious of being an incomer to rural North Wales, and feel privileged to be able to look after a tiny corner of the countryside, so it was natural to me to choose the immediate area around my home for the project.

My work as a painter-printmaker derives from my experience of the natural environment, its’ history and its’ people.  I am intrigued by the concept of “deep mapping” as formulated by William Least Heat Moon and by Clifford MacLucas, and the notion that the surface appearance of the land is just a tiny part of a dynamic process involving human interaction as well as geological change.  Deep mapping involves different ways of seeing, from intimate observation to consideration of the massive and Sublime.

I intend to use “Cyd-fyw â’r tir” as a framework to investigate the countryside around my home in rural North Wales - “fy milltir sgwar”.  A lot of my recent work has focused on territory away from home: the Welsh Marches; the historic landscape of Bwlch y Ddeufaen in Gwynedd.  This new project will provide a welcome opportunity to get back in touch with my immediate surroundings and also to work on a larger scale than has been possible during the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic.

As usual, things didn't work out quite as planned partly because I developed repetitive strain injury in my right arm.  As a result, I couldn't make the intended series of drypoint plates to go with a large drawing/painting/map. The tiny drawings I put into the exhibition instead were, quite frankly, not quite what I had hoped, but as I haven't actually seen them yet, I can't comment further.

This is what should have been included (but only two images made so far).

proof print (drypoint on perspex), approx 10x15cm 

proof print (drypoint on perspex), approx 10x15cm

Drawing; work in progress, 1metre and counting...

Like many deep mapping projects, it remains a 'work-in-progress' and I can see where it could be expanded and adjusted, and go on and on. Deep mapping can be risky:

''As we began to turn the new data into maps, and then into spreads, they pushed us to go out and collect more stuff. The mapping drove the thinking, drove the collecting, drove the design; and all these things drove the mapping, pushing us into new subjects, forcing us to find or collect new data, didn’t stop. 

Wood, D. Mapping Deeply. Humanities 20154, 304–318.