"For the 'not a cloud in the sky' exhibition we created an original work on paper using site specific pigments of sandstone, soil and wind fallen branches. Burning the wood in our studio to create a rich black paint, then re-using the wood as mark making tools, we've painted abstract scenes of the park referencing the landscape, terrain and lake. The work forms a narrative about bringing people together and how nature is vital for personal and collective wellbeing."
Birkenhead park celebrates its 175th anniversary, designed by Joseph Paxton, it was opened on 5 April in 1847 as the first publicly funded park and influenced many other parks internationally including Central Park in New York.
"It holds a special place in my heart, with many of my personal memories anchored there over the last twelve years, memories of walking there in an attempt to bring on the labor of my first child, the place my daughter took her first steps outdoors and navigating life as my family grew with picnics and them learning to ride their bikes. It became the place I went to to develop my photography skills and manage my mental wellbeing. This became even more relevant through the lockdown of 2020, visiting there as part of our daily exercise.
I've amassed quite the collection of photos of the park over the years and through the seasons, celebrating its beauty, and so it feels especially poignant to me to create a piece of work from a place with such personal significance." - Ange
Having gathered wood, sandstone and soil, we've created a limited colour palette which highlights the essence of the park. We burnt the wood and ground down the raw materials, putting them through several processes until they become fine pigments, which we then transformed into paint to use in the work. The final painting and subsequent collection are a site specific, abstract representation of the park itself, capturing the rocks, pond, boathouse and historic Swiss bridge.
Presented alongside the exhibited painting is a display of the raw materials in both their original and transformed states, highlighting the laborious processes they've been through in order to become usable pigment. Seeing the wood, sandstone and soil samples just as we found them, creates a tangible connection between the parkland and the painting reinforcing the narrative about our own relationship with nature. As our lives become ever busier, the need to slow down, be present and achieve balance is vital to our physical and mental wellbeing, and so the need for public spaces such as Birkenhead Park can only serve to enrich our lives with the restorative power of nature and to bring families and communities together.
A small series of mini paintings on paper accompany the larger exhibited piece and will be available to purchase soon, join our newsletter to hear about their release and future projects!
We also created a video of Birkenhead park and our experience of foraging for the materials, enjoy!