This sculpture was something I created last term but it was mainly just to practise my wood-work skills. I took the shape of an abstract life drawing I did then recreated it using many layers of scrap wood, all individually sawn and sanded to mimic the curves of a human figure. At the time I became obsessed with this sculpture and it took me days to complete despite the corners I could have cut that would have been much less effort and time consuming.
Once finished and glued together I noticed my pleasure of holding it, there was something nice about gripping a heavy object around its thinnest part, it made me like the object regardless of its minimal relevance to my work.
I also became aware of its prominent layers of different colour and thickness, it reminded me of the layers of the planet, earth and sand. Simultaneously, since the evaluation of my last body of work and how interesting I found art relating to organic materials and the threat climate change has on our global, natural environment, I began realising the importance of this sculpture.
My research into the future of the planet increased and after watching the most recent series of Planet Earth with David Attenborough, I learnt that the “deserts are drying up and constantly expanding” meaning the polar ice caps as well. I had personally not given much thought to the sandy deserts of the world in terms of global warming and I found it quite scary to think that they are constantly expanding. It is a powerful and frightening concept that ‘the desert is coming’, and after watching a short film with the title ‘The Future Was Desert’ by artist Sophia Ann Maria, I really started giving the idea of sand a thought. In her film, she portrays the future as a hostile, sublime, lifeless place and draws inspiration from apocalyptic movies and ideas, using found footage and an eery commentary along with portraying our existence as something that has come from nothing and will soon return there.
I was highly influenced by Maria’s work especially due to the videos sometimes poor quality and production, it is raw and amature giving me confidence of my own to simple experiment with what little technical knowledge I have.
So, I got my hands on some oil sand which is what is used in the workshop for casting and combined my figurative wooden sculpture with a pile of it:
Although very simple, thanks to the combination of the human presence from the sculpture and the organic earthy presence of the sand, it then gave me a platform to start thinking about the relationship humans have with the planet and there my project began.