This blog will document the progress of our project ‘Flock Together’ over the coming year and we hope to include insights into our working methods from the initial resource gathering stages at the farm, through to the planned exhibitions of all of the work. We are delighted to have received ACE funding and can’t wait to get started! Firstly, here’s an introduction into the background of this project:
‘Flock Together’ is an on-going collaboration between two artists, Sara Dudman and Debbie Locke along with a farmer, Tony Woollacott, in the Blackdown Hills, Somerset, who generously allows us access to his flock of sheep and his working dog Fly.
We are attempting to capture and represent the working relationship between the farmer, the sheep and his dogs and in order to do this, we use GPS and webcams to record the interaction between them in its most natural form, without any outside interference. The data collected then forms the basis of drawings and paintings – it is used both as a resource for hand-made marks created by Sara and also as raw data for the algorithms controlling the drawing machines created by Debbie, which map the movement of the sheep. We are interested in the interface between machine and hand-made marks and so by working separately in alternating layers on the same piece of work, the exciting harmonies and contrasts of these two diverse methods of making are shown – built up laboriously over time, the expressive, painterly gestures are interwoven with the precise, machine-made, measured lines, the paint simultaneously revealing and obliterating the depicted movements of the sheep, with each additional application.
So far, we have produced several paintings and drawings, some of which have already been individually exhibited within group exhibitions, but we are now focusing on building a body of work for solo exhibitions later in the year. As our work is fundamentally collaborative and relationship-orientated, we hope that this series of artworks will give our audiences the opportunity for experimentation and enquiry and we are really excited to be running a series of interactive workshops and artist-led talks, alongside the shows.