Kaitlin Ferguson

Kaitlin Ferguson is concerned as an artist with the very nature of being. She examines planetary shaping processes to form a whole vision. In the course of this, she combines several means of investigation . Her practice is an aggregate, formed through interdisciplinary methodologies. These seeming fragments represent intertwined research-based lines of inquiry through deep time. She unites them by working in a site-responsive way, exploring where the Anthropocene sits within this discourse.

Whether investigating the planet as a whole, a specific geomorphological process, a locality or a single physical fragment, I examine through enquiries across temporal and spatial scales – these create the foundation of my process. 

Kaitlin Ferguson

A mountain in a grain of sand

She works directly with geological matter and its localities. She presents this material in frameworks which symbolize the deep history of the planet. Inevitably it brings into question what the deep future may be. 

Kaitlin Ferguson a mountain in a grain of sand
Kaitlin Ferguson A Mountain in a Grain of Sand, artist’s book, 2019

Kaitlin interest in mountains has been long-term. It led originally to a study experimenting with the tools for measuring and recording landscape. Using map-makers’ conventions such as contour lines, together with artist’s devices for shading and representing depth, she built conceptual mountains. Little bit by little bit, she re-assembled complex geology as different graphic experiences in the gallery.

Kaitlin Ferguson Ben Nevis
Kaitlin Ferguson geological contour drawing, 2017

Deep time

She applies the notion of ‘deep time’ as her framing device. Thus, the geology of the planet transforms from inactive to alive. All environments are ‘coated in time’. The strata around us provides a window into the history of the earth and its limits. A mountain is not motionless, but instead seen in constant dynamism, simultaneously building and eroding, in motion constantly. Even on a molecular level, it is constantly in flux.

Human agency is so often the central voice in the planetary narrative but listening to an alternative voice is now more important than ever. Approaching the timescales of our species from the perspective of planetary time, emphasises our insignificance but also reframes the scale and impact of our destruction to the earth. It is a call to action to tackle the overwhelming tide of the Anthropocene.

Kaitlin Ferguson
Kaitlin Ferguson Restless earth
Kaitlin Ferguson, detail from Restless Earth installation, 2019, part of MA degree show, Edinburgh College of Art.

Abstract geology

She seeks to disrupt human-centric perspectives of the Anthropocene, by dismantling its anthropocentric constructs via their limitations. Her aim is to reveal new readings of the planet, ones that seek to deconstruct the deeply embedded nature/culture divides. 

Kaitlin Ferguson detail from disintegration-accumulation 2019
Detail from Disintegration Accumulation , 2019, exhibited at Edinburgh College of Art

My processes are governed by key phases of research and analysis of theoretical and cultural complexities. These cross boundaries of science, culture, and the humanities, an exploration in order to lead to the genesis of interdisciplinary results. It is what Robert Smithson defined as ‘abstract geology’ tracing connections between the geological, the body and mental processes. (3)

One Day, One Billion

Kaitlin Ferguson One Day One Billion, 2019
Kaitlin Ferguson, One Day, One Billion, 2019, exhibited at An Lanntair Gallery, Stornoway Scotland

When a rock is sliced open a world is revealed for the first time. A fragment of the universe sees the light of day. The work consists of two separate structures: one a piece of pegmatite (a composition of feldspar, granite and quartz) and the specimens subsequent half replicated in cast glass. Silica compositional components unite these forms. Also both are experiencing processes of renewal by fire, one from the depths of the earth the other through anthropocentric processes. In this way the life cycles of a new “rock” begins.

The complex exchange between these two forms represent tensions on a planetary scale, they call into question the convoluted relationship of our species with the earth. Life and minerals have co-evolved simultaneously, indexically linking us to the planet. This represents the visualisation of the turning point in this complex relationship.

Earlier work at the Norfolk coast

1. Happisburgh

Kaitlin Ferguson Happisburgh
This image comes from an installation Kaitlin Ferguson made on Happisburgh beach in Norfolk, annually measuring its dramatic changes through climate change from 2014 onwards

Originally Kaitlin’s work divided between two themes; representational outcomes of the landscape and site-specific outdoor sculptures. These explorations of the environment magnified the subtleties, fragility, power and tension in the landscape. 

2. Cley

 In 2018 Kaitlin was a selected artist for Cley Contemporary, Norfolk, and made this wind installation for siting on the beach
In 2018 Kaitlin was a selected artist for Cley Contemporary, Norfolk, and made this wind installation for siting on the beach

About the artist

Born in California, USA, Kaitlin lives and works in Norwich, UK. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art from Norwich University of the Arts, graduating with a First Class Degree in 2014. In 2019 with the Andrew Grant Scholarship, she received her Masters from the University of Edinburgh . She co-directed the short environmental film ‘Living in the Ruins’ which screened at the Edinburgh International Science Festival (Scotland, UK). She exhibited at the Edinburgh Arts Festival (Scotland, UK). Also she exhibited at An Lanntair Gallery (Outer Hebrides, Scotland, UK), and the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation. She was commissioned to create the public sculpture ‘Wave Maker’ (Norfolk, UK).

Kaitlin has maintained a consistent interest in teaching, and is in demand for running practical workshops in several of the major museums and galleries in East England. http://katferguson.wixsite.com/kaitlinferguson2