Jessica Burnand-Martin

Jessica Burnand-Martin BA (Hons) Fine Art 2020

I never tire of nature, because it is never the same twice. The landscapes I surround myself in are constantly changing, whether it be the tide, the sand, or the woodland. As I immerse myself in the landscapes of my hometown, my overriding sense of my environment - my apprehension of the natural world - is somewhat solid, fixed and immutable. But by using the act of walking to spark my curiosity, I never see the same thing twice. My practice often depends on everyday natural objects that I collect on walks, like a magpie that forages objects for its nest; I take my objects back to the studio, and transform them often using casting techniques, mainly working with plaster. I like to see the process of the transformation, and I am investigating, how repetition and copying alters our understanding of the natural objects and their uniqueness in relation to time and space and geology.

Since last year the wild fires in the moorland of Marsden, I have increasingly focussed on on the fragility of our natural environment and the importance of creating work, that is exploring themes of sustainability in relation to Land Art of the sixties and seventies and the current discourse on the Anthropocene. The flames, hot and wild, took the moorland captive. Wildlife, Heather, Ferns, and Grass, and all other vegetation turned to ash . As I walk through the familiar path, I am reminded of the importance of my own connection with nature, and the influence I have on the environment, which is why I am excited about making site-specific work. Using photography, I recently took a series of lomography to help capture my journey through the moors, which I am presenting in the form of a handmade fabric book . These photos feature the moorland as it is healing itself. 

Whilst we are often misguided in thinking of the high moors and lakes as the UK’s last wildernesses the truth is, that they are the result of century old logging and land management. Exploitation and stewardship are diverging forces at the heart of our perhaps fatal relationship with nature. Herman de Vries’s tender and nurturing artworks have really inspired me and lead me to combine my interest in gardening with my focus on the natural environment. A greenhouse, or cold frame structure is a symbolic feature amongst gardens, with no aesthetic purpose but to nurture plants. I feel the use of a common cold frame in a contemporary setting would present a juxtaposition between outside and inside, and gardener and artist. Working with living plants is both and intimate and a visionary endeavour, different to how I have worked with ‘dead’ objects, such as rocks, or shells, living plants are dependent on me, the artist in order to survive within the work.