The latest exhibition in the Meffan Gallery in Forfar features the work of Aberfoyle-based artist Charmian Pollok.
All Charmian’s work derives from the experience of a place, a moment in time as she walks a particular landscape.
She has been a lifelong walker, botanising and collecting ‘stuff’ which she finds along the way. Whilst studying full-time at Glasgow School of Art in her middle-age she learnt to call this ‘stuff’, ‘found objects’.
It was a ‘eureka moment’ for her. Most of the works also feature her own hand-made papers.
She said: “As a child I would walk and botanise and collect stuff which I found along the way.
“Decades later things have not changed much except that, now, this activity has a purpose which is directed towards my artworks.
“Attending Glasgow School of Art in my middle age taught me to call the ‘stuff’ I collected ‘found objects’.
“At last, a rationale for an untidy habit.
“I knew that I wanted my work to reflect my abiding interest in the natural world and concern for the impact of man’s activities on it but I did not want to reproduce what I saw and felt in any sort of mimetic way.
“It took a long time before my present working methods evolved but in them I find the scope I need to express myself.”
Charmian explained her papermaking skills enable her to supply a subtle site-specificity to a piece by making most of the papers in any one piece of work from the plants found in the area where she found the object which is the centrepiece of the individual artwork.
She continued: “Each piece, however, demands its own approach and this includes the type of paper used. I have to first find the ‘key to the piece.’
“Living deep in the Scottish countryside, my walks would often take me across-country past ruined crofts where I would scavenge around to see what I could find, a small history in a piece of rusty metal or a scrap of shoe leather. Every visitor will bring his or her own experience to the work. There is no right or wrong meaning”.
Another separate strand to her work is the incorporation of past-processed cotton linters.
Charmian explained: “Different fibres produce papers with different qualities which, in turn, will lend themselves to different purposes.”
Jim Boon, galleries curator said: “We are delighted to welcome Charmian Pollok to the Meffan. Her exhibition is a masterclass in the art of the ‘found object’.
“In her hands discarded everyday materials become an elegant symbolic record of another time and place”.