Kayla Cloonan: Stitch & Stain

Physical interaction with materials and the human touch have always been central components in my working process, but my experiences here in Lacoste with the landscape and Plein Air painting have influenced my work in new and exciting ways. Human mark has a delegation, a sense of articulation regardless of the decision of color, line, shape, form, etc. In my work I seek out awkward and sometimes difficult tools and materials in order to create marks that speak to the immediacy of drawing. I have always thought of drawing not as solely a preliminary to painting, but as a distinctive experience of materials and elements, and that there is a sense of immediacy; whereas painting speaks as a meditative process that often seeks out marks akin to drawing.

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The development of my work began with frottage, a simple but rich process of rubbing on surfaces as a way of recording textural information. This direct interaction with the landscape helped me to create marks that nurtured a dialogue with nature.

Earlier in the month, the painters attended a workshop and tour at the Ochre Conservatory in Roussillon, a town not far from Lacoste. I was enticed by the process of making handmade binders and using pure pigment to mix different types of paint. These processes as well as the pure, organic pastels I acquired from the conservatory pushed the direction of my work. I have been using diluted cherry tree sap from the area, a type of Gomme Arabic binder, as both a medium for mixing and as a color in itself; the other colors are derived from pure powdered pigments and pastels. Pushing these natural marks further, I experimented in areas with articulated human marks involving manufactured yarn and thread, responding to the existing stains.

By Kayla Cloonan, B.F.A. Painting, SCAD Savannah


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