9 September 2019
Currently I am preparing for an exhibition with Lynn Fulton, a fellow studio holder at One Thoresby Street, which is due to open in September. This is the first in a series of exhibitions pairing artists from the studios, under the banner ‘Thoresby Thursdays’. The work I am making is influenced by a week in August spent sailing on the IJsselmeer and the Waddenzee, in the Netherlands, on an old sailing barge. This is the third year that I have joined my Dutch dad on a trip he organises for members of a sailing club.
On these trips I bring an A5 landscape sketchbook and a box with tubes of gouache paint. The sketchbook reflects a space of shifting horizons and steady motion. The pages slip between the surface of a table, constructed from a mast that once acted as the central spar carrying the sail, to my body seen as I observe the page, to Withies. Withies are slim branches stuck into the muddy sea floor and adorned with rings of rubber, fabric and other detritus. Left by fishermen to mark mussel beds, they sway in the glistening blue, or rolling, infinite varieties of grey.
Returning to the ferry, we stopped in Rotterdam and I visited the Cecilia Vicuña retrospective at Witte de With. This is the first time I have encountered Vicuña’s work. Rolling on the waves, I felt an elated affinity with her installation of Precarios (precarious objects), constructed from basuritas (small rubbish) displayed across a carefully skimmed square of sand and scattered across the wall overlooking it. The wall text gave many ways to contextualise these items through concepts of waste and consumerism, formulations of the sacred and as a challenge to the western concept of time.
Back in Nottingham I return to my own precarious objects - the grain of the tabletop becomes a glowing horizon; a knarled knot, the sun and it’s reflection setting over the sea.
Sophie Mackfall: BNC16 Artist Page