Anna Gillespie

The human body has always been central to my work.  It is the lens through which I respond to my own personal history, my current circumstances and the world around me.  In this sense my work is a fundamentally autobiographical project and yet one which through its very personal approach also reaches out to archetypal experience.  At this moment in time the inescapable fact of the climate emergency is what I am experiencing and therefore it is the central theme of my work.

The work however, is not about climate change itself but rather about our human response to it.  As a species we turn away unable to watch or hear the truth.  I depict these feelings not in the hope of effecting political change, but simply because it is an expression of what is most immediately present within me – a sculking, looming, stomach churning anxiety that is never ‘away’ for long, and is therefore I believe a legitimate artistic subject in its own right.

Our bodies and bodily existence are both potential victims of the climate emergency, and yet, ironically, also associated through our lifestyles with the very cause of the problem.  But our bodies are not separate from ‘nature’ and contain as much beauty as the other natural forms and processes we see around us.  It is through our bodies, the fact that we are one body with other species and the land, that we may I believe find enough connection and reverence with and for the Earth to live within our ecological limits.

The beauty of the world around us gives us solace even as we grieve its destruction.  Some of my work is simply a way of paying homage to this beauty we are a part of, of attempting to comprehend that we are embedded in the biosphere, the web of life, rather than putting us at the top, alone, of a pyramid of life.  My work on this aspect of our relationship with Earth often incorporates found natural materials to call attention to this connection that can be lost when we live in the ‘built’ environment in an increasingly digital culture.

Both Circle #1 and Path #1 are a meditation on how the Earth might feel our presence if we tread gently.  Our ‘footprint’ has now come to have negative connotations, but he timeless act of walking is one of the least impactful and most connecting acts we can do.  These pieces reflect our hopes that rather than being embattled with our beautiful Earth,  we can become embedded in its rhythms and mysteries.