Wednesday, 5 October 2016

'Lost Islands & Other Works' by Marie Velardi at Peacock Visual Arts!

'Lost Islands & Other Works' features a selection of art work from Swiss artist Marie Velardi. The show has been curated by Glasgow based curator Matilda Strang who hosted a special gallery tour and talk with Green Tease who aim to help set up events and create discussion between creative communities and artists about environmental sustainability issues. 

"Within her practice, Marie employs fact and fiction to both imagine and question the future. Works closely examine movements of the earth, such as the continuous shift between land and sea, or inhabited islands disappearing into the ocean due to rising water levels. Marie’s use of fiction to present a timeline of the 21st century as described in sci-fi literature and film, offsets our reality to incite a powerful yet playful protest about the uncertainty of our future, and the condition of the earth today."

The show is made up from 5 distinct artworks which differ greatly in medium and yet feel connected through their open commentary on the future of our planet and mans impact on the natural environment. Starting with 'Lost Islands' the viewer is given a glimpse of Indonesian islands which in 100 years shall be submerged due to the rising sea level. Each island is traced in watercolour and are beautifully offset by the deep blue wall they hang on. 

Along the back wall hang two prints, one created at Peacocks by Marie, the outline of the North East coast stretching from Aberdeen right up to the Black Isle, a single line emboldened by patches of blue where the rising seas may potentialy cause big changes to the ever fragile coast line. The second large scale print looks at a small section of the Scottish coast line where man made measures were introduced to push back the sea. The natural line of the sea, the man made defences and proposed reversal and acceptance of the water are all shown through varying shades of blue, overlayed and mapping out I feel mans need to control its surroundings and the futility of such a huge endeavour.

Back through in the main gallery you have a time line which takes the viewer from now to the end of the 21st Century, 200 years into the future. What does the future hold? Drought? Famine? Global Disaster? Farms on mars? A robot up rising? Pulling together paragraphs from a plethora of science fictions, films and comics Marie has weaved a rather incredible time line which although pulled from numerous sources creates a cohesive vision of future events. Although modern life doesn't resemble the utopian techno paradise many writers predicted I feel there's some truth and wisdom in the tales of demise as we enter into an era where the changes we affect on our planet go beyond the tipping point, a first for our civilisation and we don't know what effect these changes will really have. The reality is actually scarier than the fiction!

My memory of the talk is getting a little fuzzy but I believe the final piece in the show, a tryptych of etched glass circles contain maps of future galaxies hundreds of thousands of years away which have yet to materialise. Its interesting the use of timelines within the show from the disappearing islands in the next hundred years, changing coastlines which we might see in the next ten years to eerie future events in the 21st century and finally a galaxy far, far away. What a trip! Throughout the show lies a subtleness both in the works and the artists message, sometimes offering the problem and other times giving hints towards a solution but a conclusion is never forced upon the viewer, instead were left to come to our own decisions. 

It was really great having the curators insight into the work, how she came to know of the artist, what drew her to the work and how the show came to be. It was also nice to experience the show as group, hearing other peoples take on the ideas and themes of the show from school age participants to the electrician who informed us that if you head directly North from Peterhead you won't hit any land until you reach the North Pole! Throwing up the idea of the human impact were having on our planet both in far off lands and locally hopefully helped people to understand an issue that always seems a bit off in the distance, not really something to be too worried about although I'm not i'll be rushing to buy a little coastal retreat any time soon! Green Tease and Creative Carbon Scotland seem to be trying to at least look at the issue and with an artists ability to see beyond the blank canvas we just might come up with some radical ideas to help change the current course were on. 

A great show, great work and a great experience. Here's to more engaging and thought provoking exhibitions both at Peacocks and beyond. The show runs until Saturday so you'd better get down quick if you want to see it but its worth the effort!