Within the MA studio at the University if Lincoln we have a great space called Labspace Plus.
It is a corner space about 9 feet square with floor to ceiling windows facing out to the main concourse. As students we are able to use this space to test out ideas in relation to staging of works, expand our studio space when required or host exhibitions.
I recently gave a bit of breathing space to a collection of sycamore branches I have which have yet to know where they are going… About a year ago I came across the phrase “spears become boomerangs” in my research into mourning in reference to the way in which the melancholic projects the emotions they should be feeling for others onto themselves and create irrational low self esteem.
These sycamore were destined to become spears but in the process of stripping them of their bark they become something other and this was the point at which I began to know that the process invested in the crafting of my work was where the value was held for me.
This revelation put this piece of work on hold , but as a consequence I gained an unexpected piece in the bag of bark striplings I had collected.
I recently came across a reference to an Eskimo tradition in Lucy Lippard’s Overlay which knocked me for six with its beauty and entirely encompassed what these sticks of mine were, even as spears.
When a member of the tribe was angry, unable to reconcile their emotion, they would be given a stick and sent out into the ice and snow to walk in a straight line away from their kin. Once the anger had dissipated they would plant the stick into the ice and begin the return walk back.
The dissipation of anger through the motion of walking in a straight line, into isolation from those you love, into possible danger, illustrating that emotion is a choice, making that which overwhelms us become small and insignificant in the face of the tests of life love and death.
The return walk is harder than the angry walk out into the void.
The hope for this piece which is provisionally called Resting Place, is to create one overwhelming branch in the Projectspace Plus, approximately 7metres in height.