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KATRINA

SLACK

I work in a range of mediums for both my sculptures and painting. I incorporate photography, mixed media oil and acrylics into my paintings. I sculpt in clay, wire and found materials. For this project I chose to work with photography, plastics, clay, Antarctic sediment and glass slides. 

 

My work, although varied, is always around ‘environmental themes’ so this was perfect for me as I have a fascination for Antarctica and an interest in the relationship between art, science and nature.

 

In preparation for the exhibition we had several visits to the laboratories and had arranged for contact with James and Alejandro during their trip. James made sound recordings of the trips and Alejandro sent images back to us. I developed a curiosity for the tiny microscopic organisms (diatoms) that we viewed under the microscope and the shapes and forms of the organisms found on the ocean floor.  Research revealed that there had been many art projects around diatoms and I found that my experiments with drawing, painting and clay sculpting didn’t seem to do these transparent, opaline, silica organisms justice. Eventually I settled on creating images from shredded plastic bottles, photographing them and printing them on acetate sheets.  The acetate images are meant to be hung in front a window for the light to come through, illuminating their transparency.

 

I also created some sculptural shapes inspired by the organisms I had viewed under the microscope and images sent back from the expedition.  These were made from clay, some were fired and glazed and then I added sediment that James had given us to coat the outer layers. I painted some with the Antarctic sediment, thus connecting the pieces to their place of origin. It was amazing to think I actually had some Antarctic sediment in my fridge! I made stands for these tiny sculptures out of laboratory slides, this seemed fitting as most of my inspiration had come from the laboratory. We were hoping to use the sounds that James had brought back to play during the exhibition or to possibly create a slide show. Due to lock-down this idea never came to fruition but I did write a short poem that was inspired by the sound recordings and descriptions of the expedition that James and Alejandro provided.

We travel through ice. 

 

Breaking it.

 

A Terrestrial expanse 

Seemingly infinite 

Inevitably fragile.

 

Engines purr 

Powered by burning 

Water runs through ice 

Until ice becomes water. 

 

 

We travel through ice 

 

Cracking it. 

 

Peaks and plateaux

Decaying glacier 

Creaking, roar and thunder 

Endless melt and collapse 

Dispersing, dazzling and distant. 

 

 

We travel through ice.

 

Probing it. 

 

Breaking the surface 

Descending into darkness 

Sampling simple organisms 

Unchanged and revealing. 

 

 

We travel through ice. 

 

Splitting it. 

 

Isolated but connected 

One system 

Changing 

Cracking.

WE TRAVEL THROUGH ICE

 - KATRINA SLACK. MARCH 2020.