I was fortunate to go on a ‘Greening Arts Practice’ session which featured a talk by this artist. The theme for the session was about how we perceive land and how politics, ownership, management and commercial value all shape and impact on it.
Rebecca’s work is all about discovering new information and sharing it with the public. The end product is a drawing, an exhibition, a leaflet, or a recording. She does not produce work to sell.
Her work is very much a crossover between art and science and it is interesting to see how closely these two can align. ‘map. volume 1, coniston: grizedale arts, cumbria 2005 / 06’ is a particularly interesting project for me as this was using the kind of information I work with in my day job as a GIS officer. It was interesting to look at this project and examine what makes this art in comparison to the maps I might produce as part of my work. I think that as an artist she is delving into science and looking at the information in a new way, keeping her sense of wonder in what she discovers and trying to pass that on to the public. She is effectively taking the public on a journey with her, she is one step ahead of them, but not an expert. She talks to the experts and interprets the science for the public. She picks out the bits she wants to do and makes sure she keeps in mind that she is an artist and not a scientist. Her involvement brings a fresh pair of eyes to a subject. She looks into the issues which bring tension into the landscape and the challenge for her is in getting the message she wants to convey across in the artwork. In this work she highlights issues, but also hides them. If I’d produced a map of this in my day job, the boundaries would be clearer as to what they mean. Her work can’t be interpreted.
It was fascinating to her Rebecca talk about her work and the discussions with her and the group afterwards were very interesting and thought provoking.
Chesney, R. (2018). Rebecca Chesney. [online] Rebeccachesney.com. Available at: http://www.rebeccachesney.com/ [Accessed 22 May 2018].