This week the website Artsy featured the work of James Perkins, an artist who buries his silk canvases at the beach to let the elements do their part in creating his art.
From Perkins’ website:
James Perkins, a sculpturist and painter originally from the South. Currently based in NYC, the Yale graduate who studied Chemistry came to his practice by way of wanting to create work that makes people feel good and optimistic about the future. He uses the outdoors to inform and react to his works, leaving many of his paintings outside with the elements to create the cohesion with nature that humans often seek.
I found this fascinating, because I have also used the natural world to co-create art. The piece below was made by placing slices of purple onion on raw cotton canvas between sheets of Plexiglas and letting them mold.
This piece is orange slices placed on raw cotton canvas and allowing them to mold.
And below is a finished mold piece placed on another length of canvas painted using natural earth pigments.
“Passage,” 56 x 42 inches, mold and natural pigments on raw cotton canvas
The article on Perkins’ work has inspired me to begin playing around with the elements in my art again. I can’t bury pieces at the beach, because I’d never be able to find them later. But I can place them in my backyard.
I’m starting with a painted piece placed on the ground, where it will be exposed to sun, water, insects and animals — both domesticated and wild.
And I’m also going to bury a painted piece in my compost pile. Things happen fast in the compost! I’m using cotton, rather than the silk that Perkins uses. Silk is more resistant to being eaten and disintegration. There are a lot of bugs in the compost, and I’ll have to take this piece out in a few days, or there won’t be anything left.
Stay tuned to see how these pieces evolve.
How do you interact with the elements of nature? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can share them with us in the comments section below.
With love and appreciation,