Katrina Palmer

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The next visiting artist talk that we were given was by Katrina Palmer, a sculptor and artist who spoke to us about her work and the inclusion of writing and the spoken word. She informed us about her work ‘End Matter'(2015) which was based around a quarry in Portland. Palmer commented on how the carving away at the land seemed like an ‘inverted monument’ and how the stone in these quarries were transported to create monumental buildings, yet the land these buildings were derived from is slowly being eaten away. What I found interesting was Palmer’s analysis that the excavation of the land also acts as an excavation of the past and that the land itself was not barren, but rich in its own history. There was a definite paradox to the quarry: the island is disappearing yet remains entirely dependent on the industry that is destroying it. For the work itself, She recorded and wrote about the Portland cliffs and people could walk around whilst listening to them.

‘The Fabricators Tale’ (2014) was also another interesting piece of work. The audience was provided with headphones and were able to spy through a 3 mm gap in the wall to visualise what was being spoken to them through the recording. What was spoken included a list of what was included in the scene. The work itself is partial and constrained through the limitation of sight. This is slowly reversed as certain objects are revealed though lighting as the story itself is revealed. Palmer initially worked with sculpture, using clay and Plasticine, questioning what sculpture is and what are its limitation. From this exploration she felt that writing became appropriate for her practice as it also became physical when written down and had a presence of its own. Yet, despite this shift in material and medium, she commented how her entire practice is one extended work.

In terms of research, Katrina Palmer stated that works like ‘End Matter’ (2015) she finds out about the location, then visits the location and walks around it; immersing herself in the landscape. Writing is also assisted in the research even if it just be by the process. Although writing feature in her practice, and are often displayed on walls of galleries,the extended narratives of her work are better listened to rather than being read directly from a wall. Perhaps this is to shield from an overwhelming of textual information or to give more of a ‘voice’ to the narratives and the people and experiences she is describing. This consideration of the appropriateness of her work in a gallery space is something I would like to incorporate in my work. Like Palmer I intend to make sure that each piece that is displayed will be enhanced in its installation rather than hindered.

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