Setting as a focal point

Posted in In the Studio by Annabelle Shelton on 14th March 2014

The importance of setting within my work;

or rather the absence of setting in my work is perhaps the most talked about reference point.  

Sitting in my art lessons as an eight year old I would ponder over vistas. My teacher would convince me to fill the page and not to leave white spaces. Remembering these conversations and reflecting on her analogy of what constitutes a landscape, in the context of decisions we make when creating a setting, has been a point of personal provocation. The landscape offers us a space occupied by foliage, sky, ground works and nature. My investigations look to a landscape that involves human interaction and presence. Place is absent in my work but instinctively we are aware of what is revealed through the codes of dress unveils a space.  

Beach Strip

Annabelle Shelton
Beach Strip

Between 2000 to 2007 I made a series of urban space drawings, absent of all architecture and street furniture leaving only human pools of activity. Urban spaces are full of city dwellers organised by town planning and time management. The conditioning of working patterns, opening hours and transport systems from buses to rail to the changing of the lights at pedestrian crossings signify habitual livings. To evade all these pivotal points of architecture, traffic systems and timings I was left with pure frameworks interlaced with cut outs and negative spacing’s. People are intersected, grouped and configured into semi circles and lines, clusters and bunches. Perhaps my findings reveal a secret social geographer interested in the modern condition. My graphite drawings reflect fleeting moments as it passes on a temporal surface of a smooth white sprayed paint.

The destination Beach Place has its own dynamic and as an artist I looked to the urbanised populated beach. Beaches are fabricated they are leisure places of quasi fair grounds, market places, bars, eateries and massage parlours. They are increasingly being carved up as centres of indulgence beach strips are often privatised and owned by cafes that charge entry fees to each segment.  

My beach paintings are rendered in watercolours which like the Black and white drawings, float on a smooth surface of painted white aluminium. Often described as something akin to faded photographs I capture a moment of people occupying a beach space. The Umbrellas/parasols on the beach are like satellites’ cocooning the beach paraphernalia. In my work the dense areas of umbrellas and people act out like the tide in reverse. The importance of settings in my work and the omitting of landscape perhaps disclose more about the modern condition of capitalism and pleasure seeking. The landscape is merely the padding of a pictorial space, whether it is the sand sea or urban architecture and the revelation is in the context of society acting within the spaces.

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