WHERE THE BONES OF THE EARTH SHOW THROUGH…
29th May 2010
Art Exhibition By Patricia Niemann
At North Lands Creative Glass Gallery, Lybster
31st May - 18th June 2010
Patricia Nieman Describes Her Exhibition
I was originally trained over 20 years ago in Germany as a goldsmith through a classic trade apprenticeship and later through a degree course in gemstone and jewellery design. My workshop and showroom are set in Latheron. Normally, my main work is the making of one-off pieces of fine jewellery in gold, platinum, silver and gemstones.
But there is a wild side to me, a passion for large scale jewellery, for unusual textiles, hot glass and the human body. I am interested in human fears, and I never tire of translating and re-interpreting them into positive, decorative pieces that can be worn as body adornment. Current themes are the archaeology of death and burial, and the concept of decay.
During the years that I have lived here, Caithness, its archaeology and relentless weather have started to change my work. My colour choice has become more muted - more in tune with the environment. This extraordinary landscape, the unusual light, wide open spaces and the effect of the harsh weather and the Sea on the land, people and human artefacts fascinate me constantly.
A big part of my work and passions has always been life drawing. This is a rare opportunity for me to show a body of work, which normally is not seen by the public. Life drawing is brilliant drawing practice, because we are so familiar with the human form - this kind of drawing is a constant challenge. Normally you strive to draw correct proportions and to describe three-dimensional shapes and positive and negative space accurately. However - MY main interest is expression - of hands, feet and faces. I often exaggerate, what I see. My people seem fierce. Only a moment is captured. I work fast and vigorously. Here, the colours and lines are bold and often have a masculine quality.
At Achavanich Stone setting near Lybster, charred human remains were found in the peat bog. The pins on show were felted and hand-dyed, silver lichen imprints and bone shapes were added. The Burial Mound is influenced by Neolithic burial sites in Caithness, especially the Cairn O'Get. Caithness Stone is a sediment and slightly radioactive. The stone and uranium glass bones also reference Caithness's more recent past in the context of Dounreay.
My textiles are inspired by Caithness barbed wire fences, where black silage sheeting is caught ripping in the wind.