CityLandscapes

CityLandscapes
 
 

Landscape is a central preoccupation in Emma Stibbon's practice. Drawn to places that put a perspective on the viewer, her work often addresses environments that are in a condition of flux or change. Stibbon's interest is focused on how the apparently monumental can be so fragile.

In 2006 Stibbon began a project of work looking at the remote region of Antarctica. The work charts her journey made by ship through the Antarctic Convergence to the ice landscape of the Peninsula. The drawings engage with the notion of 'encounter', with the viewer's gaze often fixed on an unstable horizon. The work seeks to express the fragility of this pristine environment; this is a landscape in change, an environment under threat. The work was exhibited at several venues including the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, upstairs berlin gallery, Berlin and Rabley Contemporary Drawing Centre, UK.

The drawing process is central to her work. As Stibbon describes: Through experimenting with different drawing approaches, media and supports I aim to observe something strange in the visual world. The Poles offer a disorientating landscape with little reference points. The spectacular ice landscape is ephemeral and fleeting, the act of drawing is also a kind of psychological immersion.

Alongside Stibbon’s interest in the transformation of place through the forces of nature, she is concerned with the dynamics of change within the built landscape and how place can be read as a layering of historical traces. Part of her interest in the urban is focused on how the appearance of a city can retain the structures and patterns of its history. In a recent body of work she has looked at the city of Berlin where this is particularly evident, having experienced the political and social extremes of the C20. In her solo exhibition StadtLandschaften, which toured from the Stadtmuseum Berlin to the University of Brighton Gallery in January 2010, she exhibited a series of drawings and prints including ink on paper, large-scale woodcut, and chalk on blackboard wall drawings. This project of work looks at the overlaying of different ideologies on the urban topography and explores how drawing can equate with an experience of place. An associated book on her work Emma Stibbon: StadLandschaften is published by Kerber Press to accompany the exhibition.

Stibbon will be spending three months at the British School in Rome later this year where she plans to explore the idea of place as palimpsest. She is currently Senior Lecturer in Fine Art Printmaking at the University of Brighton.