Transient Landscapes

Sheffield paper artist Melanie Pearson "Les Fruits de Mel"

I have heard it said that a bigger studio (or having the use of a studio at all, as opposed to working from home) generates bigger ideas and physically bigger art, and there’s surely something in that. The scope of the work naturally enlarges to fit the space, so you find yourself working on a different scale.

Jo had already been developing her monumental draped installations in the sculpture hall at ECA, and although my work is on a much smaller scale (maybe because I do have a home studio?) I started to want to inhabit the space differently.

Sheffield paper artist Melanie Pearson "Les Fruits de Mel"
Detail of Jo Fleming-Smith’s “Wave” painted fabric installation with my cherry blossom film projection in background.

Having a “process space” to develop an idea was a luxury – and quite scary to walk into an empty space (but not quite empty, with coffee cups, old paintbrushes and drawing pins left over from the last residency) with an idea in mind but no real sense of how to accomplish it. The only thing to do was take a deep breath and begin.  

My idea had been to fill the room with the cherry blossom cut out shapes I’d made, but it was obvious that there was no way I could make enough in the short time we had without my fingers falling off; so I just used a corner, like flowers growing wild over a corner of a wall, or a page in a sketchbook. I’d taken so many photos of the cherry blossom while travelling through Japan, and made a little film loop to project over the cut outs. Very low tech, but it worked. As a process of discovery and exploration, it worked, and helped me consider what I could do better in future.

Also, although Jo and I had done very different things with our responses to the space, as a whole it did seem to work. When we opened our doors to the public, we got a really positive response and wished that we had had the residency for longer. But then, the whole point of it was to make something temporary and capture that fleeting moment of beauty – just for a very short time, knowing that nothing is permanent. 

Here are some images from the finished exhibition:

Melanie Pearson, “Fleeting Moment” cherry blossom paper cut hangings and film projection.
Jo Fleming-Smith, mixed media with painted fabric, fluorescent light and hand blown glass.

 

Transient Landscapes was a site-specific installation developed during a temporary residence at Bloc Meanwhile Space, April – May 2023.

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