I have just spent a few days in the handsome city of Glasgow, with its stone tenements, good people and vistas of mountains - even from the city centre. I spent most of my time exploring the university's Stirling Maxwell Collection* of early printed books, manuscripts and emblem books, finding intriguing images or series' of images that cannot be fully 'read' /understood without their accompanying text. I love the many nature-related maxims: a crab with the world on its back is accompanied by the text "Sic Orbis Iter" - The Way of the World. Text and image combined suggest that it is the nature of the world to go backwards.
*Although did see an amazing Hamlet at the Citizens Theatre.
In London the work on my own image series' continues. Moving on from DeTOXIFY-ME, I wanted to continue joining pictures into story using some kind of object rather than a flat canvas as my starting point. Working on wooden boxes in the Detoxify series flagged up several advantages. A box opens and closes like a book and offers a continuous series of surfaces that can be walked around as a story is told. After spending many a long hour looking at junk shops and e-bay curiosities, I hit on the idea of using printers' trays, those drawers used to store printing blocks, and discovered that these fabulous constructions offer all kinds of narrative potential. I am now busily, building trap doors between images, breaking down walls to connect them, erecting new walls to separate them and chiseling the occasional tunnel. There is so much potential for storytelling in the opening, closing, echoing and mirroring of one image with another. I am thinking of it as a new kind of joinery and have begun to make an atheist vision of EARTH, HEAVEN AND HELL.
It's an experience to carefully gild a swastika and paint the faces of murdered children. On the whole I am looking forward to moving up to Earth!
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'Entering into Natalie Sirett's world is like meeting oneself in a universe subject to completely different rules of recollection. The work is delicate and brutal, sensitive with a bite. Subsequently, one's memory of her storytelling is always full of colour.'
Libby Anson Editor, Arts Writer, Author The A to Z of Art