Clare Churchouse and Gelah Penn: Cross-Pollination
Raging Tide (aftermath)
A collaborative drawing
installation by Clare Churchouse and Gelah Penn
We began our collaboration by
discussing the ideas and influences informing our work and how they might be
useful in formulating this project. Gelah suggested viewing the Hitchcock film Shadow
of a Doubt, with its examination of the dark undercurrents in American
life. Clare chose four articles on the critical issues of climate change, sea
level and ice melt. These became the touchstones for our collaboration.
Materials and Process
Both of us use a variety of
synthetic materials, e.g., mylar and optical plastics, that are translucent, richly
visual, durable and easily manipulated on recto and verso. Photographic images
and a smattering of textiles were also incorporated.
After determining parameters of
overall size, we independently began by making components that would encourage
maximum flexibility in approach. We then exchanged these drawings, working on them
with free rein to erase, cut up, add to or alter. Finally, we brought together
both sets of our drawing responses to Clare’s studio. This was the first time
that we’d seen each other’s manipulations.
We then worked together to create a single installation with all of our components.
We considered the interventions each of us had made and worked with our
drawings in an in-the-moment, intuitive way. We positioned pieces on the
wall, moved them around, and folded and overlapped them, frequently stepping
back to review our moves. We talked about what worked and what needed to
change. This exciting, cross-pollinating approach elicited atypical responses
and actions that we agreed might not have occurred working independently.
The collaborative process, we
were pleased to find, resulted in an installation that is a hybrid of our
individual interests and methods, evincing qualities that are both familiar and