Patricia Swannell: Memories for the Time Being

Patricia Swannell: Memories for the Time Being

7 November - 30 November 2013

jaggedart is delighted to present Patricia Swannell’s first solo show at the gallery. Swannell’s works start from the idea of time, with the ever-moving present providing the only vantage point to the past and future. Through paintings, drawings and prints, paying attention to the particular expression that each medium allows, she looks closely at the commonplace. The works focus on moments of exquisite balance and beauty in nature that are receding from experience to memory, perhaps forever.

The paintings were inspired by a coastal marshland. The area, with its indeterminate boundaries of land and sea, earth and sky has been associated since 650AD with St. Botolph, the patron saint of portals and doorways. The site of his ancient religious order was chosen because it was felt that this ambiguous terrain provided the greatest opportunity for access to the spiritual realm. This metaphor of the potential found at porous boundaries seems also to relate directly to the idea of time, with the present linked to the past through memory and the future through imagination.

Observing nature in this vulnerable terrain prompted the prints. Depending on our actions now, such images are potentially the only form of this experience that can reach future generations.
The drawings are also a meditation on this risk. Each drawing portrays a specific tree, with the seed from each tree representing the starting point and the name and location, repeated again and again like the seasons, creating an imagined cross section of the tree when it was drawn. It is a recognition of the time embodied in the trees we enjoy today and a warning of how our current actions compromise the world for future generations. It is particularly poignant to focus on the species of Ash and Acer, now common in our landscape, which are threatened by disease and climate change.

By looking closely at the commonplace, she hopes to communicate something of the everyday things that both define and enhance our environment, and that we risk overlooking until they are lost.

Swannell trained at City and Guilds of London Art School and has been showing with jaggedart since 2007. Her focus on environmental matters is also reflected in her work for The Royal Botanic Garden Kew at Wakehurst Place. She has designed a brick and turf maze and a series of small bronzes, which highlight the conservation work of Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank for visitors to the gardens.