Because we are both heading to Dunbar from Edinburgh, me for the day and she for her week-long stay, Hannah and I decide to meet on the train. I help carry her materials on board. What is she planning to make during her residency? The answer, I discover, is multi faceted. Over the course of the day, walking and talking in Dunbar, my question about her practise develops into an engaging discussion about, among other things, geology, Galileo, and the idea of art as conduits for thinking about the environment.
Much of Hannah’s practice is site-specific and chance-based, although still rooted in research. For example, a previous piece, Mirror Kite at Étretat III, sought to heighten the viewer’s experience of the Normany coastline through the creation of a ‘kite’ constructed out of space blankets stretched across a wooden frame. Hovering in the air, this ‘looking instrument’ gives us a multi-sided experience of the scene, an ocular intersection of sky, earth, water, and humans. Hannah’s interest in reflective and magnifying properties of materials was developed partly during her residencies in Italy and her research into early scientific methods for investigating outer space. Other works have been ‘used’ as buoys, shelters, clothing, and hammocks, and have been placed in situ the environments which inspired their making. Each of Hannah’s pieces evidence meticulous planning and engineering: in them, industry meets wonder.
What Hannah will create in Dunbar is therefore not a straightforward ‘product’, but a process of her reaction to the environment, and the materials, views, and properties provided by that environment. She is particularly interested in the geology of the John Muir Trail between White Sands and Barns Ness, the site of the most extensive limestone outcrops in Central Scotland. A possible site for her work is an area of basin-shaped hollows in the limestone, which may have been where the roots of ancient trees rested. I am looking forward to what Hannah will make, which will undoubtedly create ample opportunities for deep and associative thinking, like our conversation had for me.
Hannah’s residency runs from 30 June to 6 July. More information about her work can be found on our website here.
Main image: Hannah Imlach in residence at the Beach Hut © Alastair Cook, 2013
Below: Works by Hannah Imlach