Place of Return – Charlotte Watson
In Place of Return Charlotte Watson explores the influence of earthly geographies and geologies on the fate and fortune of human experience. These works directly reference forms from nature—namely Nero Marquina marble—and manners of navigating and accessing the environment.
Within the cutting and the folding, the lines and dashed threads, Watson casts a subtle yet critical eye towards the significance of material opulence. This is set against the morality in its sourcing. Taking from 19th century clipper route maps, Watson breaks the fragile surfaces of her works, rendering ground as if pocked with the traces of civilisation in a repeating series of societies that ascribe value to unearthed materials. This search for meaning is reiterated in the manifestation these works as pieces within a gallery, where value is constantly judged.
Yet there is softness to be found in the blacks and the gentle formalities of this body of work. Much like the sea, sky and stars which act as constants to be navigated and returned to, Watson distills the relationship between the land and us, finding a cyclical nature cut through with points from which we orientate and place ourselves within human culture.
At last Tauwhare lifted his finger and described a circle in the air. When his fingertip returned to the place from which he had begun he jabbed his finger sharply, to mark the place of return. But one cannot mark a place upon a circle, he thought; to mark a place upon a circle is to break it, so that it is not a circle any longer.
Excerpt from The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton, 2013
Melbourne-based artist Charlotte Watson graduated from the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts in 2011. Her practice explores the effect of psychological experiences on an individual’s values and subsequent world-view, using surface, material and abstract space to reflect upon ongoing questioning of personal moralities and nebulous definitions we hold.