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Catherine McDonald


How Far

My work is concerned with perception and the different forms of knowledge which shape our understanding of landscape. Situated between sculpture, film and installation, my practice probes the relationship between scientific and holistic understandings of natural systems. In this body of work, I gather a natural material and form it into a collection of objects, while documenting the process through film. Through this process, I consider how a landscape may be experienced, manipulated and reframed. This installation seeks to find the point where perception meets abstraction, and where one form of understanding lends itself to another.

How Far views soil and earth as a creator of space, land and significance. I collect clay which falls from eroding cliffs along the coast of county Wexford. I then filter and dry the clay until it becomes clean and malleable enough to form and fire. The resulting forms are borne from scientific diagrams of minerals and chemical compounds found in marine clay. One form then feeds into the next, creating a collection of strange shapes and figures. These pieces sit in mud, seawater, muslin and metal mesh, resting on recycled oil drums.

On the opposite wall, a video projection follows this process. This film articulates an imbrication of scientific and holistic knowledges to form layered understandings of landscape. The use of green screen echoes this idea of layering, of reframing. Drawings of diagrams are layered over scenes, appearing as signifiers of the research that went behind the sourcing and firing of marine clay. My hand physically manipulates the clay to indicate a holistic engagement with the land.

I also create sound by filling glasses with varying levels of seawater, and stroking them to produce a continuous resonance. These sounds are layered over one another, punctuating the space.

How Far is a collection of cycles and recycles, uncovering the mechanics of production. Each element of the installation stands as a new layer of understanding; the next step of a process, a subsequent abstraction from the landscape.

Catherine McDonald Proj1 1 by new-project-page Catherine McDonald Proj1 2 by new-project-page Catherine McDonald Proj1 3 by new-project-page Catherine McDonald Proj1 4 by new-project-page