DEGREE SHOW DEVELOPMENT
Melanie Jordan Artist Statement
Bound - Unbound
While maintaining an immersive, experimental approach to creativity, a key focus of my practice continues to be exploring contrasting materiality and process. The entropic quality of oxidising iron is intriguing. Rust has a basic primal quality that evokes a sense of ruin, decay and abandonment, while simultaneously celebrating the capacity of nature to re- form itself. It has an agency of its own.
Initially concentrating on found rusty artefacts, I subsequently began incorporating more diverse material elements into the work to enhance the sense of contradiction. This included woodland detritus, polypropylene string, and other discarded paraphernalia; thus juxtaposing: natural with manmade, decaying with new, industrial with domestic. Visual conflict was sort by combining the ruinous brutality of tarnished objects with craft like techniques, for example wrapping a rusting circular saw blade with string that has been hand dyed with beetroot juice.
The action of binding has become fundamental to the work. This simple activity was initially inspired by the artist Judith Scott, whose work I experienced at the ‘Entangled- Threads and Making exhibition’ at the Turner Contemporary Gallery last year. For Scott the association between repetitive making and thought was particularly pertinent. Binding is a slow and reflective undertaking. Time is taken to become absorbed by the process, almost to the point of monotony. It is as though the boredom is a precursor to creativity. It serves as an interface between physical action and the workings of the mind. I took reference from Robert Smithson’s ‘A Sedimentation of the Mind͛- Earth Projects’ (1968) where gradual depositional progression “Converts motion to satis”. Entropy and time run through the work like a subtle unbroken thread.
The personal significance of binding eluded me until reading about Louise Bourgeois’ giant spider sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art (NYC),when it struck me that the meaning behind it may be maternal; the threads, symbolising the umbilical link between mother and child. This needs further contemplation, but does open up a perplexing new dimension to move the work forward.
A consequence of the binding process has been the formation of abstract bound structures that both obscure and reveal glimpses of the function, form and materiality of that, which lies beneath; encapsulating an essence of the know-how, physical actions, and time involved in their creation. The concrete process of making is embedded in the work, thus it is as important as the finished object. Bound up in these sculptures are the histories and narratives of their creation.