The importance of listening and looking – awareness of materials.

by Chantal

“There is a direct connection between the tools that you use and what the tools will allow you to represent. Right? These things are completely linked. So oftentimes when I’m experimenting with processes, I’m trying to figure out: what is it that this thing is expressing beyond what my intention was? What are its attributes? What else is it doing?”

Detail from "Beneath The Veils", resin, rose buds.

This thought from Edgar Arceneaux (quoted from article by Holly Myers in Art Review) is very relevant to my practice. An awareness of the language expressed by the materials I use is incredibly important and the ways in which that vocabulary changes when I alter objects or bring materials together in a certain way. Its an ongoing process – learning to see, hear and feel these inherent language. I think its one of my favourite aspects of creating. I love to reflect (and sometimes even grapple) with a material or object before responding to it, working with it, then looking again to see what has changed, and responding again. Its a real collaboration between my thoughts/emotions and what the material has to give.

If I were a painter, literally faced with a blank canvas, I don’t think I’d know where to begin! Give me an object and we can start to build a story together.