6 September 2011

Art and archaeology

                                 Carmen Mills :  ‘Archaeology 1’, A3, pen and ink with graphite on paper


I am starting to re-evaluate where I am, after all the business of the final degree exhibition swiftly followed by a site-specific art project.  I’m now submitting work for a gallery exhibition, and thinking about how to describe succinctly what I’m about. 

Here goes: as an abstract artist my practice is based on issues to do with deep time, and so my work takes archaeology as its starting point.  This is abstract work with roots in the real world.

 ‘Archaeology 1’ is a looking back through tenuous strata to find the worlds beneath.  Through its ten often complex apertures, areas have been excavated that can be seen either in their detail, or lack of it.  This mimics the process that the archaeologist must go through as she attempts to place in context the discoveries she has made with the limited data at her disposal.  The overall shape of the piece is that of a skull, and the question arises, why is it that we build up so many layers inside our own thinking?  Is this just the way thought works?  Or are there more factors involved in our thought life than we like to acknowledge?  I like asking questions.

Oh, and in case you haven’t guessed,  I just love drawing with red earth ink.

                                      Carmen Mills – ‘Red Earth 1’, 12cms x 12cms, pen and ink on Fabriano

                                  Carmen Mills – ‘Red Earth 5’, 12cms x 12cms, pen and ink on Fabriano


These two smaller drawings evoke landscape, and I hope, moving through landscape as one of the methods we use to come to terms with our world and our place in it.  To me, movement always provokes thinking about time, so although these drawings are cartographic and imply geology, there is also an archaeological dimension.  Who am I?  Where do I come from?  How does that influence who I am?  Or another set of questions.  What’s out there?  Where did it come from?  What is my place in it?  How can I come to know it better?  How can I grow as a person because of my interaction with it?  Or even.  What’s underneath all those layers?  Why do I want to excavate and find out?  What difference does it make to me to be brought into contact with a world that existed thousands of years before mine?  Just a few questions to keep me going.  Any thoughts to help me out?

Carmen Mills

http://www.carmenmills .co.uk


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