Monday, March 2, 2009

Chris Drury - an introduction to my work

Double Echo
An echogram of 3 km of ice and the underlying landscape, made with radar from a Twin Otter plane flying over the icefields of Antarctica, superimposed with the echocardiogram of the pilot who flew the flight.

My work seeks to make connections between different phenomena in the world, specifically between:

• Nature and Culture

• Inner and Outer

• Microcosm and Macrocosm

All of my works, over the past 25 years have been concerned with these connections. This is what unites the whole body of work. I do not have a particular style, nor do I prefer one material or process over another, rather I will seek the most appropriate means and material to find, and make explicit, those connections. 

To this end I collaborate with scientists and technicians from a broad spectrum of disciplines and technology. This may mean that one exhibition or work outside may look very different to another. Each work starts from zero and breaks new ground. Its starting point is the place and/or the situation. My work therefore is a continuing dialogue with the world, exploring our place in the universe.

In many ways the nature of how I work has become more complex and yet out of this complexity I seek simple solutions, presented in the most direct and simple ways. For instance micro organisms found growing in the most hostile places on Earth like the Ellsworth Mountains of Antarctica or The Nevada Test site, are presented as gene sequences, stenciled in those particular soils themselves, directly onto the wall.

Labels are useful only in so far as they allow a way in to start thinking about the work. But usually as soon as you label or categories something it will slip its leach and move into another category. That is how it should be, for these works are not static, they are states of connection. For a new book on the last 15 years of work I am using the catagories: 'Landscapes of the Mind', 'Systems in the Body/Systems on the Planet', 'Heaven and Earth' and 'Life and Death'. For a series of Art/Science seminars I am using Earth, air, Fire and Water. Just as there are elements of Time, Hybridity, Space, Performance and Appropriation in all of my works, none of them quite fit.

Winnemucca Whirlwind made in Nevada last year on the edge of The Paiute Reservation, was a time based piece made in time with the knowledge that with the first shower it would disappear. There was an element of performance in its making with an invitation to people to find it and leave notes etc in a tin nearby. It was definitely concerned with the space of its site and it appropriated a native whirlwind basket design to bring together ideas of history, social cohesion, land and water use, and the question just how does a population of several million, live on a land that in reality will only support a few thousand. Of course the implication of this question can be moved up a notch. In a world fast approaching population levels of 7 billion, and which may possibly only be able to sustainably support 2 or 3 billion, how do we act both practically and morally?

If you would like to know more about my work I have a blog on Antarctica and Nevada on:
and you can visit my web site on.

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