Anna Fairchild BA(Hons) MA DFA
Anna Fairchild is a Hertfordshire-based artist and researcher working in sculpture and film. Her practice situates itself in the threshold, or liminal space between physical and conceptual felt experiences; in the space imaginative ambiguity of becoming objects or ideas. The processes and methodology within the work intends to allow colliding fragmented material, place and experience to coalesce. Individual or clusters of objects seem to precariously cling together resonating with fleeting material moments synchronically torn and momentarily fixed in the continuous flow of time.
In her book Vibrant Matter, 2010, Jane Bennett proposes ideas as a New Materialist, where parity is acknowledged between all objects we encounter, ontologically eschewing a distinction between organic or inorganic; animate or inanimate. Bennett labels this as ‘enchanted materialism’, and that, ‘Objects appear as such because their becoming proceeds at a speed or a level below the threshold of human discernment.’ (2010, p.58)
Fairchild’s work draws inspiration from just such an ontology of objects in physical and social geography; cave deposits and cliff edges; chemical and calcium landscapes; water running down stone cobbles; a street market fruit juice; a corroded gutter; a torn plastic fragment tethered to scaffolding; an ancient igneous basalt rock. Chiming with this parity, her references aim to balance this lack of distinction between objects in a New Materialist ontology. Shape, structure and form seem to be reminiscent of things, yet, imaginatively ambiguous; reminding us of and yet different from architectural elements; clouds, cliff edges; machine parts; fossils or coral.
Sidewinder was initially inspired by walks on the Jurassic coastal path, Dorset. and the formation of desert rose quartz fossils. It was the shifting and twisting of material embedded over periods of time along the limestone cliff edges, which was the starting point for this work.
As the forms began to emerge, they suggested a winding, fragmented sculptural installation, starting to resemble a shedded skin, a kind of fixing of fluid moments in the continuous flow of time. This brought to mind the title, Sidewinder.
This work develops Fairchild’s Doctorate research into direct casting processes and a methodology which uses an intuitive material led engagement with jesmonite plaster, which echoes Michael Polanyi’s ideas that tacit forms of knowledge ‘…show more that we can tell…’ (1966, p.4) about the world, allowing colliding fragmented memories; of place and experience emerge in forms and structures.