Dwelling: a trans-atlantic collaboration

I am very lucky to have been invited to collaborate on an artwork with my longtime Pittsburgh friend, STUDIO collegue and fellow landscape painter, Connie Merriman.  She asked if I would like to work with her for the Associate Artists of Pittsburgh Centenial Exhibition.  Pittsburgh is a very special place for me, and it’s magnetic pull grabs me even while I am in the Devon, England.

The title of the show is “Exchange: Emerging and Established Artists Come Together” where 10 established artists invite emerging artists to collaborate, and 10 emerging artists invite established artists to collaborate.  The show opening is from 5:30 – 8pm on Feb. 5th at 937 Liberty Ave in Pittsburgh.  I also showed “Dwelling” here in Devon as part of The Landscape Thinks Itself in Us. We ultimately decided to work with photography, time and the view out our home windows.  Big thanks to Tom Merriman, Jason McMullan and Ben Vernot for their valuable assistance in getting this together.

Our show statement is as follows:

It takes time to know a place. Yet location changes over time. What does it mean to understand a place within a constantly changing landscape?

We make our homes our location by the daily habits of living, by the activities of everyday life. This is grounding for us. We are observers, and we chose to study our landscapes by looking deeply over time through the windows in our homes, our dwellings. We are behind the camera, and sometimes there is evidence of us in our photos as reflections in the windows. Connie has deep roots in her dwelling. Noel is searching for roots in a temporary place.

We have teamed as collaborators before, working on environmental projects in the same studio space. Now Noel studies in England and Connie continues her work in Pittsburgh. We perceive our current distance. There is a subtle timelessness implied in distant places and when friends are separated, they take on the quality of a memory instead of the fresh engagements which occur in one location. This exhibit has provided us the opportunity to work together again, not in the same studio, but in real time.

As landscape painters, we both deal with notions of time and how it flows through space. Now we present to the viewers our ‘moving paintings’ at the size of postcards. These are views from our windows which are captured in synchronized time in two locations on the earth. We exchanged these experiences of place and particular points of view within the world with each other and the viewers in hopes to discover and share meaning in the landscapes we live in.

“Dwelling is about the rich intimate ongoing togetherness of beings and things which make up landscapes and places, and which bind together nature and culture over time.  It thus offers conceptual characteristics which blur the nature/culture divide and emphasise the temporal nature of landscape.”

-Cloke and Jones (2001, p.651) quoted in Landscape by John Wylie

A shortened version of the work is below. For the exhibitions, each slide is 5 seconds long, instead of .5 seconds here.