At its core, my art practice explores the transitory and embodied aspects of migration from a perspective that considers personal experience, and a legacy of an itinerant family history whose cultural identity is located in the Irish Diaspora. As a contemporary, modern, migrant woman the movement between the Northern and Southern hemispheres provides the visual and textual touchstones that shape my ideas, practice and research interests to date. Defining one’s sense of belonging and the never-ending feeling of longing to belong is the ongoing temporal dilemma that has yet to be resolved artistically.
I am particularly interested in how the vehicle of Abstraction, its language, rituals, history and traditions has the capacity to frame personal and physical, spatial experiences into contemporary art objects through the process of making. Thinking through making has conditioned a deep curiosity with materiality and abstraction as the seminal mode for exploring how meaning and understanding can be experienced both visually and physically. By decoding the complexities of one language into that of another alongside a blending of paintings material history creates a space for the phenomenon, felt experience to exist.
My approach to artistic practice is interdisciplinary. I employ the genre of abstract painting and experimental drawing, digital photography and video installation to examine spaces that exist in-between: continents, cultures, the here and now, the here and there. A personal painting and drawing methodology that uses wet and dry mediums, handmade, knitted and woven surfaces and materials are employed to reflect a sensory aesthetic that is engendered and culturally specific. Overall, my art practice is fluid, spontaneous and intuitive, allowing for an open-ended negotiation between processes that find form and at the same time inform one’s understanding of the space that exists between making and thinking.
As a condition of practice, my work explores the concept of liminal space, which is described by anthropologist, Victor Turner, as ‘a place that is not a place and a time that is not a time’. The ambiguity encoded in this analogy supports the reoccurring dilemma that I encounter as an artist, which is how to translate felt experience [migration and its side effects] into the realm of contemporary art practice. Acknowledging that there is a space of in-between, which may or may not exist fits well with the abstract methods and mindset that shapes not only my identity as an artist, but is the defining process that gives artistic tenor to the picture plane, the video and or art object produced.
Annemarie Murland is a Scottish artist and educator living in Newcastle, NSW, Australia