Landscapes of Energy & Extraction: Material Agency & Meaning

Friday 29 October 2021

Justin Carter and Onya McCausland in conversation with Geographer Dr. Danny McNally about their recent projects involving material extracted from the landscape.

Avoiding the traditional monologic approach to presenting work, Justin and Onya built a shared dialogue framed by a small selection of relevant images used as wayfinders. In keeping with the speakers’ practices, their conversation was open and fluid, allowing ideas to emerge through conversation and exchange. This symposium explored various approaches to engaging with materials as active agents within the art making process. 

This session was chaired by Dr. Frances Robertson and re-interpreted by Dr. Danny McNally for publication. The findings from this symposium was then published in the online critical review The Drouth in a special issue themed simply as ‘Climate’ to coincide with the COP26 conference in Glasgow. The climate-themed Special Issue presented a new article/feature online every few days (thus adding to the full issue over that time) which will usually focus on contribution to the debate on the climate crisis through art, architecture and design. The issue was launched in the first week of October at an exhibition in the New Glasgow Society gallery curated by our guest editor and sponsored by the Rachel Carson Centre in Munich and by Glasgow University.

Speaker Biographies

Justin Carter

Justin Carter is Reader in Contemporary Practice: Art & Environment at Glasgow School of Art. Recent exhibitions include: The Howse Shal Be Preserved at Rockingham Castle (2021), Practicing Landscape: Land, Histories and Transformation at The Lighthouse, Glasgow (2020) and Blood From Stone at Fineshade Wood, Northamptonshire (2019). Over the past 20 years Justin has exhibited work and developed projects throughout the UK, Europe and in Japan, China, Australia and the United States. “My research is an attempt to understand the natural environment we are part of. How do we sense it and make sense of it? The resulting (art)works are an attempt to make this connection tangible”.

References for Justin Carter
 Jean Dubuffet’s ‘Phenomenes’ print series (1958-1962)
Justinus Kerner. ‘The Seeres of Prevost: Being Revelations Concerning the Inner-Life of Man, and the Inter-Diffusion of a World of Spirits in the One We Inhabit’. (1855)
Tim Ingold, ‘The Perception of The Environment’ (2011)
Robert Macfalane, ‘Underland – A Deep Time Journey’. (2019)
Jane Bennett, ‘Vibrant Matter – a Political Ecology of Things’ (2010)
Jean Michel Rabate, ‘Rust’. (2018)

Onya McCausland

Onya McCausland is an artist and Lecturer at the Slade School of Fine Art where she leads a visual reading group Environment, Ecology, Sustainability. Her work examines the materiality within painting and how paint itself can be a social tool for making visible distinct ideas that point toward the interdependencies between humans and the environment.

Selected exhibitions include 51°43 33.56 N 3°07 58.63 W Karsten Schubert London 2021; Embrace Norrtälje Konsthall, Sweden 2021; The Howse Shal Be Preserved, Fermynwoods commission Rockingham Castle 2021; Working on it and Landscapes of the Future Helsinki Contemporary Finland 2020; Europe After The Rain Newlyn Gallery Cornwall 2019; Aerial Landscapes Flat Time House London 2019; Red Wall Hauser & Wirth Somerset 2019; Turning Landscape into Colour Camden Arts Centre, London 2014; White Earth Kettle’s Yard Cambridge 2011. Forthcoming exhibitions include Chemical City at Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art – November 2021 and Embrace Akureyri Art Museum Iceland 2022. A book collaboration Aerial Landscape is due in 2022.

Danny McNally

Dr. Danny McNally is a cultural geographer and lecturer in geography at Teesside University. His research engages with socio-environmental issues through interdisciplinary research and practice-based collaborations with artists, curators, and urban and environmental practitioners.

Top Image: Justin Carter – Detail of installation ‘Elephant in the Room’ (2021) at Rockingham Castle, part of the group exhibition ‘The Howse Shal Be Preserved’.

‘Sundew’ – part of ongoing Signs of Life series by Justin Carter (2022)
Oak gall ink on paper

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