Gallery

(Contains 11 photos)
Silence portfolio
(Contains 19 photos)
Biosigna portfolio Biosigna
This body of work known as Biosigna seeks to explore the nature of landscape and place. The term means Life Signals, and allows the natural environment a collaborative role in the image making process.
Fragments of the original are still visible; however, the obliteration of what was - is now blended into a new vision.
The engagement with an experimental photographic practice incorporates the ritual burying and exhuming of negatives in a number of different locations in the Teign Valley, South Devon, over a period of several weeks. It has produced a series of unique images, created in collaboration with the artist, natural environment and time. The negatives now mediate a new message, and reflect the changing state of flux within the natural world.
The work looks at the landscape at close quarters, and the new ocular is exciting, unpredictable and engaging. An attachment of these images to a specific place allows for a new visual language of place to be heard. This organic creativity allows the very process of destruction to be a creative force, allowing your eyes to witness a new vision; your imagination can contemplate a revelation where the spirit of place has left its indelible mark. With text blocks interposed throughout this series of images, the intellect is likewise challenged.
(Contains 4 photos)
Equivalence portfolio
(Contains 13 photos)
Shul - of what was (Work in Progress) portfolio Shul – of what was.
These photographs have been taken to explore my feelings of loss and loneliness after the departure of my father from the family home. They were taken on a headland known as ‘The Ness’ on the south Devon Coast, a place enjoyed by my father and his friends. The headland is common land, and covered with an untamed wood, a carefree and ideal place for boys to play. The Ness overlooks a small, former fishing village that has been home to my father’s family since the 17th century, and where I now live.
My practice is rooted in the relationship between emotion and place, and in particular how images can evoke emotional responses. This practice involves walking in the local environment, yielding a connection to the land as well as my father. The use of medium format film as a practice is instrumental in allowing the process to be methodical, thoughtful and insightful.
Tsongkhapa, a 14th century Tibetan philosopher described ‘the emptiness felt of something that used to be there’ as Shul. Memories are evoked and my sense of connection and disconnection are held in tension. These memories become an odyssey, intersecting past and present, creating a space in which a spirit of reconciliation leads to a redemptive future.

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This work is currently being curated into a book as well as an exhibition.
(Contains 8 photos)
One Welsh Mile (Work in Progress) portfolio This is a body of work which is being made in collaboration with my 100 year old grandmother. Together we are revisiting her memories of her childhood growing up in rural North Wales.
We are returning to her home village of Bryneglwys, Denbighshire in May/June 2017 to revisit these memories as well as allowing her to continue her narrative.
Together we will be making new photographs using her box brownie.

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You can view the progress of this work at One Welsh Mile

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This body work is in its early stages.
(Contains 4 photos)
Siki (Work in Progress) portfolio This body of work was created whilst in a storm in Greenland in February 2017.

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More Details to follow

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Work in Progress
(Contains 7 photos)
Handmade Books portfolio
(Contains 10 photos)
Of the Beaten Track portfolio Step in harmony

within natures holloways

a continuum

Not far from sand and sea, with the sounds of families having fun, lies a hidden, almost forgotten world: the world of ‘Sunken Lanes’. In some counties, they are ‘holloways’; in Devon, they are known as ‘Green Lanes’, so called by their very nature; a verdant tunnel of wild flowers, hedgerows and trees. There names offering an insight into their form and structure. This other world is a portal to an ancient time and reminiscent of ancient ways.

Many routes have a pre-historic heritage, like The Ridgeway; others, like The Pilgrims Way have been immortalized in Chaucer’s ‘Canterbury Tales’. Most ancient lanes have a private history, and it is into this secluded world that I enter, quietly, reverently and respectfully. The lanes are awash with the sights and sounds of nature: the rustling of leaves, the whipping of the wind through the overarching branches, insects scrabbling in their own hidden world, whilst the tracks of horse and boot indicate travellers moving onward into this other world. When walking these lanes, I am transported in both mind and body to another place and another time. I am mindful that rural practices have been the backbone of our heritage; hunter gatherers evolved into settled communities and the land was tamed. The organizing of field systems led to the growth of communities and parishes. Movement between field, stockade and communities brought about the creation of route ways.

As I walk these lanes, dressed in the correct walking clothes and boots, with a camera in hand, I have the words of Thomas Hardys’ Tess D’Urbeville echoing in my mind ‘…walking among the sleeping birds in the hedges, watching the skipping rabbits on a moonlit warren…’ Romanized words of Tess D’Urbeville’s life of rural servitude in 18th century Dorset, but an accurate description of what you would see on a leisurely walk along our Green Lanes.

Today, the Green Lanes of Devon are used primarily for recreation than agriculture. No longer does the shepherd lead sheep from field to field: no longer do horses and carts transport winter feed to cows; now, it is the jogger, the motor bike scrambler, the horse rider and walker who uses the lanes for pleasure and exercise. Much of our post-modern society has little knowledge of the countryside and its ways, and many have lost sight of the value of our rural heritage. The wheel ruts of carts are replaced by the tyre tracks of scrambling bikes: it is as though the wheel remains the constant, but the purpose has changed from work to leisure. The same can be said of the horse: once the muscle-power of the farmstead, the steeds that now use this route way is for gentle exercise.

How life has changed!

Like the ‘created track made by the land-artist Richard Long, where movement along a route produces an impression: the more the route-way is used, the deeper, more permanent the track becomes. Green Lanes provide us with an example of well-worn trails; many of which can be traced to the Anglo-Saxon period. For expediency, they followed the most direct path, in harmony with the contours of the landscape. These are routes, acted as a pointer of both purpose and need. Agricultural pursuits have always been a matter of survival, where poor weather can leads to crop failure and starvation, although today, not as acute as in our Early History. Working on the land and with the land was, still is a series of tensions: a challenging, unforgiving existence, where hard work alone does not equate with success.

The winter of 2015-2016 has been the wettest on record with crops flooded, excessive soil run-off and winter grazing waterlogged. The rural idyll is a myth, often forgotten by those whose existence is unrelated to land-matters. In pre-industrial Britain there was a great socio-economic divide between the agricultural workers and agricultural landowners: between those who did the work and those who reaped the rewards of ownership. Literature and Art have given us a record of rural life, but the rural nirvana was not always blissful. The true reality cannot be adequately portrayed by pen or brush.

Pastoral landscapes were idealized, with verdant pastures, calm surroundings and bountiful harvests, that belied the poverty and hard work of a feudal farming system.

Not far from sand and sea, with the sounds of families having fun, lies a hidden, almost forgotten world: the world of ‘Sunken Lanes’. In some counties, they are ‘holloways’; in Devon, they are known as ‘Green Lanes’, so called by their very nature; a verdant tunnel of wild flowers, hedgerows and trees. There names offering an insight into their form and structure. This other world is a portal to an ancient time and reminiscent of ancient ways. Many routes have a pre-historic heritage, like The Ridgeway; others, like The Pilgrims Way have been immortalized in Chaucer’s ‘Canterbury Tales’. Most ancient lanes have a private history, and it is into this secluded world that I enter, quietly, reverently and respectfully.

The lanes are awash with the sights and sounds of nature: the rustling of leaves, the whipping of the wind through the overarching branches, insects scrabbling in their own hidden world, whilst the tracks of horse and boot indicate travellers moving onward into this other world. When walking these lanes, I am transported in both mind and body to another place and another time. I am mindful that rural practices have been the backbone of our heritage; hunter gatherers evolved into settled communities and the land was tamed. The organizing of field systems led to the growth of communities and parishes. Movement between field, stockade and communities brought about the creation of route ways.

Years ago, what would have my relationship been with the land? Would I have been like Hardy’s Tess, in Tess of the D’Urbevilles, chained to the land by poverty or would I have been born into the gentrified classes of Mr Darcey in Pride and Prejudice or the professional classes described in Trollopes’, Barchester Towers. It is chance that decides our fate.

It is my joy and delight that these lanes offer a time of solitude: with my own thoughts after a long and busy week. I walk to the rhythm of my heartbeat… pacing out the route so that mind and body are one. With an unhurried and deliberate pace, so having time to notice the extraordinary detail that is so often overlooked. I am lost, even for a short time with my thought, as I walk in spirit with those who have walked before me. Our steps in harmony, as we walk as one, across time and space.

Mary Pearson

February 2016

This work culminated in a book.
(Contains 12 photos)
Ultima Thule (Ongoing) portfolio In February 2017 I undertook a research visit to Greenland following in the footsteps of the Greek explorer Pytheas, who wrote about finding the now mythical land of Thule. Pythea is the first to have written of Thule, doing so in his now lost work, On the Ocean, after his travels between 330-320 BC.

Virgil coined the term Ultima Thule meaning furthest land as a symbolic reference to denote a far-off land or an unattainable goal.

Locating the now mythical land of Thule is about looking for something within myself. I did not sail for 6 days from Britain as Pythea did, I flew to Greenland and started my exploration from within the country. What I found was a land covered in ice, frozen and seemingly barren, save for the warmth of the Greenlandic people I met on my travels.

Greenland is a place of infinite imagination and hope. My research questions are now based around this place and the people that make this place: Ultima Thule.

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This body of work is ongoing.