Each month (or thereabouts!) one of the art.earth Directors chooses an artist-member to be featured as Artist of the Month. This month’s featured artist, selected by Minou Polleros, is Alice Clough. Alice was also our guest artist at First Friday last December (2019).
What are you currently working on?
I have been juggling a few distinct projects over the last 12 months, the largest of which has been Written, an enquiry into the evolution of writing. Working with clay, text and installations, I’ve been creating environments of order and restraint in conversation with messy, gestural and embodied ceramics. This project recently culminated in an exhibition, talk and workshop called Word-Body.
I’m currently making larger scale ceramic vessels, with a focus on earth, body, and ground. Having worked with miniatures for Written it feels good to explore heavier and more physical forms that require me to use my body differently in the making.
I am on the brink of two new projects, which will be my main focus this year.
The first is an enquiry into practice, where making is enacted as ritual with little or no focus on the aesthetics of the material outcome. The second is a long-term project encompassing analogue film, photography and performance, around themes of land, sound, and silence.
What would you say are the primary motivations for your work?
I tend to understand my art process as one of excavation. I want to understand how humans have come to be where we are today, and to share those stories. I spend time following threads back into prehistory, tracing implications of reverberant moments in the past, and questioning how these moments manifest in the present.
For those who engage with my work I hope to create the conditions where they might be able to come home to themselves, even just for a moment.
Increasingly I want to use my art as a way of weaving (back) together tales from history, myth, and ceremony. To conjure a sense of enchantment, and to create sacred ways of engaging with materials and spaces.
Dartmoor, 2018 (35mm)
Are there any particular artists / others who have had a profound effect on you?
I take inspiration from a lot of places, and often it’s the small moments of presence and beauty in everyday life that strike a chord with me.
My connection with the land is rooted in a sense of vastness and presence: I grew up in the flatlands of East Anglia, spent formative months in the Gobi desert aged 18, traveled overland through Central Asia aged 25, and today spend long hours on Dartmoor where I live. I’m drawn to landscapes that evoke a sense of scale – where it is me, the sky, the land and the wind. This feeling is present in all of my work, in small or subtle ways.
Growing up I was deeply inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe’s work, and later Richard Long. More recently I’m becoming inspired by contemporary artists working with themes of body, myth, and embeddedness in place – for example Meryl McMaster, Magdalena Odundo, and Werner Herzog.
Alice’s website: https://www.aliceclough.com/