Today, bringing into these blog pages another one of the exhibitors in our group show in Carmarthen, Keziah Ferguson. The physical show has closed now, but you can see her work in the Carmarthen School of Art’s virtual gallery, this link will take you to the area for graduate residents.
The shapes and textures that Keziah explores are soft and rounded: the forms are vessels, seeds, eggs, pods. In the above image are her sand-stones, which she has made by hand from casting sand, using an abrasive pad; and her fluffy pod, sewn out of faux-sheepskin. Keziah’s statement says that the work
“explores the themes of comfort and maternal home in relation to the archetypal Welsh landscape. Often materialising through the form of various vessels and organic shapes, Keziah’s practice aims to illustrate the sense of safety and motherly belonging that she receives from the land.”
Having spent some time in the room with Keziah’s sculptures whilst stewarding, I found myself trying to put words to questions which have to do with our relationship with the land, the earth. They are hard questions to formulate, I feel that I lack the grammar for them. They might be something like this : if (when) we truly feel, (in our bodies), that the earth loves us back, (continues to nurture us) (in spite of everything, in spite of what we have done and are doing, and even now, in the face of environmental catastrophe); if (when) we feel this in our bodies, as a form of trust, as a bond and a gift relationship; what do we do, how do we live?
Because they are about giftedness and gratitude, about love, these questions are hard to set out in public. There is a tendency to not want to say them, to be ashamed of voicing ‘squishy’ sentiments. After all, they are not carbon emissions targets, they are not goals that are quantifiable by weight.
Possibly though, we can glean from our response to these sculptures that our wish to avoid these kinds of questions is part of a very big cover-up, some deep misunderstanding of relationship.
For example the body pod. This is an example of an object that is undeniably squishy, but which at the same time has a specific and precise beauty.
In any case, I have been very glad to come into contact with this artist, to find a person who, through her work, is nudging us towards these questions.