Images show “Quest”, exhibited at The Well, OSE, November 2017. Installation comprising bitumen painted wooden sledge, cuttlefish ink immersed canvas, and bitumen painted boxes containing research material and tools (on sledge), and sculptural pieces made from manipulated foraged coastal materials in varying states of submersion (in boxes on floor).
“Quest” is the culmination of work exploring submerged spaces, and materials caught in the ebb and flood. Inspired by the idea of a quest, I made expeditions to specific Thanet coastal spaces and challenged myself to make particular artefacts informed by finds at these locations. By setting objectives of working only with foraged matter and experiments with submersion I have established a new, marine palette for my materials investigation (including bitumen, cuttlefish ink, rubber, and plastic), and have created a set of narratives surrounding the objects formed, which have connections with the archaeological discoveries and mythologies embedded in the tidal sites visited.
The palette of Pegwell Bay.
Casts of shoe inserts made in plaster to simulate chalk amidst found marine materials: Pegwell Bay was the site of the landing of the Romans, Vikings, and St Augustine (who brought Christianity to Britain).
Top two images: between two countries. Fragments and river clams found on the Danube banks at Ezstergom, Hungary and Sturovo, Slovakia
Third image: Azurite (actual) from Hungary on a medieval Slovakian casket (found image)
Bottom image: my route around Vienna marked with sticks found in the Danube
Sara Trillo: Artist Statement
My current work has been inspired by the idea of a quest: specifically to make an expedition to submerged coastal spaces and challenge myself to make particular artefacts formed by materials caught in the ebb and flood at these locations. As part of this I have been making tools to excavate finds and an oversized sledge to pull these on, and have primarily used Pegwell Bay- site of Roman/Viking/ St Augustine’s landings- as a focus for my research. By setting myself objectives of working with found materials and experiments with submersion I have established a marine palette of bitumen, chalk, cuttlefish ink, rubber, sand and plastic, and have developed narratives inspired by the location, as well as making an expedition in a long tradition of people traversing this historical site.
I have always used specific environments to locate research, drawing on archaeological, geographical and historical references to form objects, paintings and narratives to which I hope to ascribe a form of mythical cultural belief. A desire to collage fragments together to generate a new meaning is always at the core of my practice, whether this be found materials, layers of paint, or snatches of text. Likewise, in working on projects with public participation, I set up an overriding fictional structure in which I act as a puppet master, attempting to bring all the diverse collaborative elements together.
Lines inspired by floorboard contours as below. Painted with different clays/ink/shellac
“Favourite worst nightmare” drawing with ink and enamel paint on paper, 1.5 x 1.3 m, with plaster cones below
“Tracy Island” acrylic and enamel paint on paper, 1 x 1.5 m
“Hyperbole” acrylic and enamel paint on paper, 1.35 x 1.35 m
“Nonesmanneslond”: installation of silver leafed brambles at the Fleur de Lys, Faversham in August 2016. ACE funded commission for the “Legacy and Localism”project looking at the impact of World War 1 on Faversham.
The starting point for this work came from the correspondence of Private Ernest Cutcliffe held in the Fleur de Lys archives. He wrote two letters to his family whilst a prisoner and patient in a German hospital before his death in 1918. I was struck by the kindness that he received from the Germans and the oddness of being cared for in an unfamiliar enemy environment, removed from the fighting, in a physical state between life and death. This started me thinking of “no man’s land”, an indeterminate or undefined place or state: an actual and metaphorical space in World War 1, but a term dating back to the Middle Ages, “nonesmanneslond”. I also read about the explosions at the Cotton Powder Company, and imagine Uplees after the Great Explosion in 1916 as a desperate, fractured landscape similar to the Somme: the tangled brambles now growing over the abandoned site again recalling the barbed wire which separated the trenches from no man’s land.
My piece “Nonesmanneslond” is a temporary installation demarking a piece of space between the gallery floor and ceiling. It is constructed from bramble sections gilded with silver leaf to look like metal, in contrast to the metal camouflage tree observation posts made during World War 1 to look like foliage. The very act of applying silver leaf to thorny plant stems is preposterous, like many of the actions ordered during the war. The bramble tendrils are broken and tied together, and the bandage which has been snared on these has fragments of one of Private Cutcliffe’s letters on it, highlighting one personal tragedy amongst millions between 1914 and 1918.
Initial ideas around injury and camouflage. Etched lino cuts with soldier motifs, the soldier image inspired by the photo of Private Sharp in the Fleur archives. There is a tear in the photo of him at exactly the point on his arm where he received a shrapnel wound.
Start of camouflage painting experiments- large painting 1.5 x 1 metres