You and I are Earth, Screen printed and laser-cut vitreous enamel, 2022
My brief was to create a response to Rembrandt’s painting from the National Gallery of his wife, Saskia Van Uylenburgh, in Arcadian Costume. I was also asked to consider connections with the local collections at Carmarthenshire Museum.
The enormity of this task almost overwhelmed me. My hope was to try to find ideas at the margins of Rembrandt’s work – and in this way make my way through the morass of images made by him.
Rembrandt would visit auctions, buy fabric and clothing and surround himself in his studio with it hung on the walls. My initial thoughts were to draw draped fabric and lace from my mother’s wedding dress in monotone to resemble his etchings.
In Rembrandt’s house in Amsterdam, my ideas shifted to the object. I was struck by his collection of everyday objects: clay pipes, wooden and metal spoons, a pewter lidded jug, a candle holder, a cracked plate, broken tiles. I couldn’t help but feel his presence.
The main themes in my work are about the domestic setting, and the many objects and things that make up these intimate spaces.
My response, You and I are Earth, is a deconstructed image of Saskia and Rembrandt scattered over objects from their house and Carmarthenshire Museum collections, most made from clay, of the earth.