Sound-Installation…press Start

Sound-Installation…press Start

Big day…the whole team ‘Sound-Installation-Gloucester-Cathedral-Crypt’ met in the crypt, slyde, whispering gallery of Gloucester Cathedral thanks to Helen Jeffreys our contact to the cathedral we were able to freely start exploring sound, song, voice and the acoustics of a variety of those special places.

My brain was fizzing by the end of it all, filled with new discoveries and the excitement to start this journey with fellow collaborators Simon McCorry, Eleanor Holliday and Sid Wells.

All of us bring a variety of tools to this and together we are now developing what is going to be a sound-installation to be experienced by many later this year.

Simon a fantastic cellist unpacked his cello soon after we arrived in the crypt and Elle had her beautiful strong voice on the ready, soon the crypt was filled with sound, harmonies, discords. I let it all flow through me, the door into a new way of hearing opened wide. Sid, expertly putting sound-scape-samples on a speaker to test the quality of sound that was emitted and how different rooms and positions within the room alter sound.

Ideas bubbling of how algorithms can be worked out for the installation, practicalities of where to position speakers….Whilst Elle’s voice and Simon’s cello animate the walls and spaces around them.

So now is time to trust that the path is unfolding bit by bit.

Exciting times ahead!

Press Start

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Moving between two materials…Light…Sound…

Moving between two materials…Light…Sound…

Over the last few months I found myself quietly drawing away in the early morning hours.

At times in total silence with my focus on the light falling on a black sheet of paper.

Initially I drew with the big lights in the studio switched on as this was during the winter months a logical thing to do to actually see what I was doing at 7am.

I started feeling energised by the way the graphite dots and scribbles added up over the page, much freer than the architectural drawings of 2017 in conjunction of ‘Passing Light’.

I sometimes drew to music, ‘bangers’ by Four Tet or ‘abstract’ spacious pieces by Brian Eno/ Nils Frahm/ Simon McCorry/ Ceeys to mention but few.

My thoughts and feelings became slightly confused to what I am doing, felt mark making, exploring the qualities and interaction of graphite on black paper.

As I created a rhythm to my practice, returning to the black sketchbook every morning my connection to the process grew into a little more knowing and the wish to explore new discoveries round the corner.

Moved by silence or by the music I travelled with my imagination around forms, spaces trying to capture something of time, perhaps like a time lapse that captures where the light has been a moment before and where it might be heading.

Few times through these months I felt focused and safe enough to switch off my thoughts and trust the process as it unfolds.

 

I want to compare two drawings, themes they have in common, where they differ.

‘Tectonic Shift’ came after a long stream of immersing myself in the drawing process mentioned. I remember the day this drawing unfolded, it happened with ease, I trusted the process enough to go with it. Forms that come up in my drawings…arising here without me feeling I need to get this right, I purely reacted to the impulses that came up, feeling the need to put the pencil down lightly and by doing so moving and shaping light around form. I felt the timing was right the drawing made sense, what manifested itself on the paper matched my feelings and yet I don’t understand it to this day which means it makes me still feel curious.

Months after ‘Tectonic Shift’ and a feeling of being lost that often paralysed me to actually want to draw anything I settled for that I was not sure anymore if my drawing is really anything to do with light and form or if these marks that I am making are the only thing at the moment that manage to ignite a ‘spark’ in me.

Are my drawings still to do with light? Am I, by nurturing this assumption, holding on to something of the past that has outlived its energy but gives me permission to carry on regardless?

‘Vivacious Breeze’

…one morning in May 2019…arriving in my studio early, trying to draw in silence…waiting for a feeling that moves me to make a mark…the lights are off, the morning light was just fine…nothing happened but before a sinking motion stopped further pursuit…

I put Brian Eno’s ‘Reflection’ on and made the decision to only make a mark when feeling ‘it’.

This drawing is my response to the energy of the sound in this piece.

I am for now using the same materials I draw light with, graphite/ black paper.

I have been working with music on and off and can see a difference in the mark making depending on which music I listened to but never consciously switched my full attention to this difference.

Transition time!

 

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Holocene

Holocene

Ann-Margreth Bohl’s sculpture Holocene, at the RHS Show Garden, Chatsworth House, 6-10 June 2018.

Visitors to this year’s Royal Horticultural Society Show Garden at Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, will witness a highly unusual event.

A monumental stone sculpture, which will be on display in the garden, is similar to Stonehenge and other ancient sites that are lit up on particular days of the year: it is precisely aligned with the movements of the sun. At an exact moment, 4.30PM on Saturday 9 June, the shadows cast by the sun will fit perfectly with outlines of shadows that are carved into the stone.

The sculpture, which is named Holocene after the current geological epoch, takes the form of a series of large sandstone blocks, which come from the Chatsworth estate. Like a large sundial, the blocks cast a complex pattern of shadows at different times of day, meaning that the work repays spending time with and revisiting. Some of the blocks also have carved into them, in deep relief, the outline of the shadows that will be falling on them at a precise moment of time: this has been worked out exactly using computer modelling.

The creator of Holocene is Stroud-based sculptor Ann-Margreth Bohl, working with digital designer Dan Hughes McGrail and stone carver Danny Evans. Much of Ann-Margreth’s previous work, which includes previous commissions for the RHS and the National Memorial Arboretum, has also explored themes of light and shadow, change and the passing of time.

By using stone from the Chatsworth estate, Holocene’s carbon footprint is kept to a minimum. The work in a sense comes from the Derbyshire landscape (where quarrying has historically been an important industry), and it is due to return to it: after the blocks have been displayed in the RHS Show Garden, they will stay on the Chatsworth estate.

Will the shadows really ‘fit’ at the predicted time? Visitors will have to come and find out.

Further information

Holocene can be seen at the RHS Show Garden, Chatsworth House, 6-10 June 2018

Written by Matt Shinn

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Lumen

Lumen

The play of light and shadow is a recurring theme in Ann-Margreth Bohl’s sculptures.

Lumen (the name comes from the standard unit for measuring light) was inspired by two recent journeys. The first was to Portland in Dorset, where Ann-Margreth first began stone-carving (‘I feel a very strong connection to the place’). Looking at cut blocks that were left in the old Portland stone quarries, Ann-Margreth became interested in the spaces between them: ‘I watched how the light moves round in them, at different times of day. A void can be a space where a lot of things are happening.’

The second journey was to Iceland, where Ann-Margreth was fascinated by the abandoned shell of an airliner, which had been left sitting on the black sand of a volcano after it was forced to crash-land, in the Seventies (no-one died). Light coming through the square windows into the dark and empty fuselage again changes the spaces in between.

Lumen plays with some of these ideas. It features four limestone blocks cut into a series of angular planes. There are subtle variations in the angles in the white stone, each of which is like the angle of sunlight at a given moment, as if it were making solid something that is usually fleeting. ‘It’s like I’ve frozen the movement of the light,’ says Ann-Margreth. ‘As humans we can’t do anything to stop time, but we often try.’

The white blocks rest on a bed of black sand: an echo of the Icelandic volcano. For all their precision, the blocks are carved by hand, using Ann-Margreth’s own distinctive method of measuring and calculating angles.

For Ann-Margreth, there’s a pleasing paradox here: ‘working in an immortal material, but using it to represent something as ephemeral as the movement of light’. There’s also something of the Zen garden about the installation: ‘you need to spend a bit of time with it.’ Ann-Margreth has recently been working on a much bigger scale, with her three-metre-tall sculpture Passing Light, for the National Memorial Arboretum. Lumen, too, could serve as a model for something much larger.

Written by Matt Shinn

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