Each month one of the art.earth Board of Directors selects an artist from the membership because they are particularly taken with their work. This month our Featured Artist is Kyra Clegg selected by Julia Bond.
Hello Kyra, can you talk to us about what are you currently working on?
I am Scottish visual artist working mainly with mixed media installation and artists moving image. The east coast of Scotland where I live and work has amazing shorelines which offer both inspiration and work materials. This year autumnal tides washed up large quantities of feathers telling a tale of the pandemic decimating the seabird breeding colonies on islands offshore. ‘Sad Tidings of Loss’ is a work in progress but also one which relates to a recent collaborative project – ‘Confluence of North’ which took place during our own human pandemic, linking Scotland and Japan and involving four artists from each country and four exhibitions in Scotland and Japan. https://confluenceofnorth.co.uk/ The exchange of ideas with my Japanese collaborator, Maruyama Yoshiko happened virtually and online. Our common theme being kinship and interdependence with the natural world.
Tell us what motivates you in your work
Like the seabird feathers, the natural materials that I collect and use in my work already have their own back-story which, if possible, I try to incorporate into the works I make. The roots, stones and other materials from nature are the main motivators in my ongoing studio work. I find artistic freedom in this gathering and collaboration – exploring diverse temporal and spatial connections which these other realities offer. ‘Stones’ are signposts to ‘Deep Time’ and an acknowledgement of our limited human perceptions of time – ‘Roots’ are symbols of our deep relationship with the earth.
Is there any particular artist or other person or idea that particularly inspires you?
There are many fantastic visual artists, poets, writers and filmmakers using nature to explore our relationship with time and place who I find inspiring. It would be difficult to pick out anyone in particular but a film that I find consistently inspirational is Patricio Guzman’s masterpiece ‘Nostalgia for the Light’. This first part of a trilogy responding to the tragic effects of Pinochet’s dictatorship in Chile explores with humanity ideas of Deep Time and Space and our connection and kinship with the vastness of the universe.
An artwork in my possession which I find inspirational because of its link to a distant past is an ancient Chupicuaro clay figurine 100BC. When it was given to me I was shown the remains of plant roots in the figure from the long time it had lain buried in the earth. I was told this verified the figure as genuine. I have no idea if this is true but I loved the idea of roots being used as a validation for a work of art – in the same way we use our roots and memories as recognition of our own authenticity.