Christi Birchfield & Winsome Jobling
ARTISTS-IN-RESIDENCE TALK: Thurs, September 26, 2019 at 7:00 pm
Come over to the Morgan for an Artists-In-Residence Talk with Christi Birchfield and Winsome Jobling.
These artists will present short talks, addressing their conceptual, technical, and artistic influences as well as the processes they experimented with during their residencies.
Pizza, beverages, and an interesting dialogue will be provided!
As always, our artist talks are free + open to all.
My experience of living in the changing seasons of the Midwest, driving through the impoverished neighborhoods of Cleveland and then a few miles later into neighborhoods of exponential wealth, watching my parents age, and having a baby influence my approach to my work. I tend to believe there to be a cyclical nature to all things; that when something dies, something new is born. With death comes rebirth, or an alternate realm, and in this, a mystery exists that is both seductive and horrifying. Vanitas themed paintings of the 16th and 17th century were meant to remind viewers of the transience of life, the futility of pleasure, and the certainty of death. While my work explores abstract themes, there is similarity in the function of seduction and drama resulting is an unsettling horror. As I create canvas constructions, often in direct scale to my own body, I am reminded of a hanging carcass, my own body’s interior. This calls to mind the first x-ray ever performed by Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen in 1895. He took an x-ray of his wife’s hand. Upon seeing the image, she responded, “I have seen my death”, a response suggesting that when the body is distilled to material, the ultimate conclusion is mortality. In a recent piece titled Reconfiguration, I stretch bleached and dyed canvas cut outs from the wall to the floor to create a layered/flowering form. The title suggests, that once things die, there is a cycle that will continue to develop beyond what is perceived to be the end. I apply bleach paste to dyed black canvas. Before the bleach sets, I fold the fabric in half, to create a Rorschach-effect. Next, I set to work to cut out the space between the marks, resulting in forms that resemble a ribcage or a carcass.
I have been making paper in Darwin for the last 30 years and have experimented with around 70 local plant varieties both native and exotic. My initial paper experiments began while I was teaching ‘out bush’. The Aboriginal women of Belyuen taught me basket making and I began to experiment with these ‘string’ fibres for papermaking. My early paper work combined paper and ‘string’.
I still refer to indigenous and early colonial knowledge for sources of paper fibre.
I love the process from beginning to end: the research, the connections to the land past and present, the influence of the seasons, the harvesting and nurturing of the fibre plants.
Each plant produces a certain quality of paper with different properties that can be blended to achieve a specific result.
I have recently been using traditional bush dyes to colour the paper.
There is constant input and decision making from choosing the plant, the beating time, wet manipulation and drying method to produce the final dry sheet, beautiful in itself.
The environment the fibre is grown in can contribute to the final result as can the weather at the time it is made and there is always the element of chance and discovery as well.
I love listening to large sheets of paper drying!
Paper is such a versatile medium – always physical, tactile and sensual. It combines texture and translucence, fragility and strength.
My paper isn’t just a substrate for ideas but a haptic response to events and my environment.
My passion is watermarks, ‘hidden’ images in paper which, reference ownership, craftsmanship, a time and place. These images or text add another layer of meaning. I build up layers of colour by dipping a watermarked mould many times, often using found objects.
Paper is always a tangible expression of my environment.
Learn more about our 2019 Resident Artists.