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Rachel Bacon is announced as the AER 2017 Resident at the BANFF Centre, Alberta, Canada

Published date
14 Jun 2017
Postgraduate Community

Image: Banff, Alberta Canada

The Art for the Environment International Artist Residency Programme (AER) was launched in 2015 by member of the UAL Research Centre for Sustainable Fashion (CSF) and UAL Chair of Art and the Environment Professor Lucy Orta and coordinated by CSF Associate Curator Camilla Palestra.

We can announce that Rachel Bacon  –  MA Drawing Alumni, Wimbledon College of Arts has been selected for this years’ AER 2017 Residency at the BANFF Centre in Alberta, Canada.

The 4 week Art for the Environment International Artist Residency Programme at the world renowned Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Canada, will see Rachel Bacon take part in the programme ‘Geologic Time’, at the Banff International Curatorial Institute (BICI).

The programme explores the long timescales and system dynamics of the Earth that has come up against the abrupt history of human actions, what is at stake for cultural production? Art histories are full of biophysical processes – from the enabling effects of industrial fossil capitalism, to the legacies of landscape representation. Yet how might curatorial and artistic practice venture beyond the great gulf between society and nature that was forged by a nineteenth-century understanding of human activities?

Through a programme of fieldwork, seminars and private study or studio practice Rachael Bacon will be given an opportunity to ponder the geological formations and stratigraphy, minerals and resource extraction, in order to speculate about a more expansive, slower and longer-term view of art, exhibitions, and their institutions.

Read Rachel’s successful application here:

During my study at Wimbledon College of Arts in the MA Drawing programme, from which I graduated in October 2016, I developed a series of drawings called Emotional Landscape.  These drawings are based on crumpled paper, and explore the discovery of value within something otherwise disregarded. This value seems to lie within the creative act, even if that fails.  Embedded within the crumpled piece of paper are hidden the seeds of something new. In the first series of drawings, made on black paper using pencil, the shiny graphite began to resemble precious metal.

Image: Rachel Bacon – Failure Topography no. 1, 2015, graphite on crumpled paper, 21 x 29.7 cm

The drawings took an extraordinary amount of time to make, slowing down time in the process and accruing in value by the sheer number of hours involved in their making. In the next drawings in the series I added a grid, which led me to an exploration of the fold, allowing the drawings to expand into the surrounding space. I have started to see the fold ultimately not just as a physical intervention in space (the paper is folded and then can become a corner, or part of a wall); but potentially as a conceptual strategy for incorporating different viewpoints into a composite field, further interrupting any hierarchies of value.

Image: Rachel Bacon – Emotional Landscape, 2016, pencil on paper, 48 x 64 cm

Exploring this strategy further, I am currently working on Emotional Landscape by ushering pieces of paper through a series of dimensional changes. From a flat surface, the paper is crumpled,
becoming in the process three dimensional. I then fill in all the facets of the crumples with different tones, creating as many tints as possible on the scale between dark and light. That drawing is then scanned, rendering it flat once more, then printed out, folded into the space, and then rephotographed to create another flat image, though this time one on which the spatial folding is
visible on a flat surface. My aim is to have the different dimensions compressed into one plane, allowing multiple viewpoints to exist simultaneously. As the crumple slowly comes to resemble
skin, scarred flesh, shattered glass, or cross sections of stone, my hope is that the work starts to resonate with patterns both minute and immense, indestructible and fragile.

Image: Rachel Bacon – UnBecoming, 2016, pencil on paper, 55 x 80 cm

Image: Rachel Bacon – Skin Deep
Wall painting based on a piece of crumpled paper, made during the MALONNY arts
festival, held in June and July 2016 in Marijampole Lithuania

I am now looking for opportunities to expand the context of Emotional Landscape by exploring damaged landscapes in the form of mines or other extractions of minerals and fossil fuel, and relating this to the activity of drawing. To this end, I think it would be very inspiring to participate in Banff Centre’s programme Geologic Time, and that it would be an experience that would allow me to open up new levels in the work. Much of my drawing has been done with graphite, which has has the same chemical structure of both coal and diamonds, and one possible approach would be to take this material as the starting point. My idea for a series of works during the residency is to “mine” the paper of the graphite drawings for new forms, creating alternative samples of energy and wealth, albeit in a more humble form. Certain shapes could be “extracted” from the graphite drawings, maybe resembling gemstones, crystals or rock samples, and made into separate wall-based pieces. At the beginning of 2018, I have been invited to curate and participate in an exhibition at De Cacaofabriek in Helmond in the Netherlands, and this work could inform an important part of this exhibition.

Visit Rachel Bacon’s website

As part of the AER Residency agreement, Rachel Bacon will be writing a report upon completion of his time at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Canada which will be published on this blog site.

Read previous AER Residency Reports here 

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