The early years of Angela Nunn’s life were spent in The Cape Verde Islands. After graduating in Fine Art from Northumbria University she took several opportunities to continue her practice through The Northern Print Studios, Vane, and Sightline Initiative. The evolving drawing? * project has been an important return to a line of enquiry and process that repeatedly informs her work; memory and the trace.
Previously, by marking the transition of light and shadow in the Upper Fusion Gallery, using carbon tracing paper directly on to the walls, she created an ephemeral, tentative and ‘ghostly ‘image-particularly on the removed carbon sheets. The latter were pressed on to aluminium sheets and displayed alongside as positive and negative records, with only the latter only remaining.
The series of thoughts and memories evoked by being in the space, made particular references to the persona of her father; his handwriting and occupation, the childhood memories of cargo ships were also conjured from the shadows in the space. The meaning and space of these memories shifts. The process is a means of investigating hidden, denied and lost truths in this personal and physical landscape.
The Upper Fusion Gallery inspired her thoughts, with the glass roof animating the space, often dramatically, with the muted grey clouds travelling overhead and occasionally, intense sunlight engulfing the space, which she says is an almost hallucinating an experience as being in a desert. The effect is most noticeable with the traced lines, which are for one moment conjured forward and then back with the play of light.
Salt has been used abundantly to repeatedly trace the outline of a suit pattern. First diluted in water, and as the intense heat in the space dries the lines crystallized by the atmosphere, to a phosphorescent line – and when made wet it perpetually returns. It is this cyclical process that she describes as a gift.
By using the remains of the brown paper cut outs her intention is make reference to this separation, turn around and creative process. These residues of lines of paper are reassembled and suspended creating a form, suggesting perhaps a figure, cloud or Mobius line. Featured as it is below the salt lines she appears to direct it as a vessel to transport the salt.
The repetitive approach suggests a sense of the time.
Recording the stages and moments of transformation is much like how we might hold and shape our thoughts and memories-rather like a meditative practice. In this sense the process is an important in itself rather than the completed object alone, and drawing becomes a tool to capture the fragments of memory from our history, cultures and languages. It develops an interaction, with the shifting presence and meaning of the information.
Unpicking the grey office suit she says though something of a thankless task, a piece of time, space, and metaphor, to investigate the persona or reality we all think we know. Un-doing a line is just as much about discovering one. Tracing the pattern on to the dressmaking tissue, is she says, an act which transports her back to working with her mother, who was a seamstress, and made all her father’s suits. Even for this, she often holds back this biography, but recognises it surfaces through the layers of tissue and salt.
Whilst curious about the grey landscape of the North East, she more often recalls and dreams of the morphing elements of lunar deserts in Nevada and the volcanic islands of Cape Verde. The memories of these locations are described as being the closest she has ever been to being what seems like at sea, when on land.
Drawing, therefore works through the imagination and what we think we see, rather than what we know as reality.
Drawing using traditional mediums graphite, pen and ink have often been used in her practice, but using salt she says has more resonance and connection with the landscapes she is haunted by. Therefore, she asks whether drawing commonly fails to recapture our real imaginary experiences. There is an oscillating relationship between the real and imagined. It is a present reality-even if changing.
Having used everyday objects in previous installations: coats, bed linen, glass bottles, plates, and by making a link to the material reality and transient mnemonic traces she finds, again attempts to dissolve, alter and liberate the function of the original object – just as her own sense of self can be transformed to another.
Drawing equally – and stubbornly, shifts its form. The deconstructed will be reconstructed into a vessel of memories and a map like that of an unknown place and time that is called ‘Here’.