Ancestral sediments : the archival forces of layers and shadow

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Massey University
The Author
Dear Reader, This exegesis consists of a series of letters written between Weaver and Painter. They’re not fictional characters but two distinct (though interconnected) facets of my creative process. Their individuated roles are a method through which I question, reflect and challenge myself to think and make with honesty and depth. Their ideas, their perspectives and insights are all aspects of my own. Painter is the maker. She experiences the practice of painting and considers the threads of connection between her own life, her history, and her artistic expression. Weaver takes these threads and interlaces them with an extended set of knowledge, research and ponderings. She also has her own insights, although her reflections embody a process of weaving together Painter’s ideas whilst casting new lines of enquiry; she hauls in her woven nets from different waters and offers them to Painter. This work, this research is bound to the material reality of being (be it human or rock), so to speak of it through conversational language is an approach I find doesn’t leave me restrained by cerebral knots of my own creation. The ideas shared between Weaver and Painter are often difficult to pin down, and I’ve found the formal language of academia can too easily obfuscate my truthful conveyance of meaning, as well as being an inadequate method of analysis for the transient and ever-changing themes I research in my work. Letter writing, therefore, fulfils a purpose amongst my painting practice and is a creative practice in its own respect. It has permitted Weaver and Painter to provide a framework through which I examine the intrinsic relationship between the human and the geologic. Likening geologic processes to ancestral lineage and accepting the transcendent belonging allowed by such a recognition has formed the basis of my research into the archival capabilities of rock and earth. In the way that shifting sediments from disparate sources gather, then compact and combine to form rock, pressed ever-deeper beneath new layers of sediment, so it is with the communicative layering of Weaver and Painter. Through them, I think about how I encounter the world and how I perceive, respond and connect to that world. Weaver and Painter’s correspondence begins with an archived lineage of rock and earth, then moves to the sediment of Painter’s being. It’s followed by discussions of transcendent belonging, sensorial sight and the archival forces of layers and shadow. Weaver describes how rock and earth remember before their conversation arrives at Painter’s final stepping stone. I invite you, Reader, to witness this communion between Weaver and Painter; to enter into their domain; to taste and to test their exploration through your own experience. Bienvenido, welcome in. Eleanor.
Figures are reused with permission.