chloesells_280Land, where our memories subsist and our history is born, exerts a subtle power over us. As a landscape encompasses and implicates its viewer. My purpose is to use this potential to form meaning through nostalgia, the sublime and the exotic.

Most of the landscapes and plants that we interact with, from what we eat, to the trees in the park, are transplanted, cultivated and non-native. Each of the trees in Closer Than Known has a different provenance and some exist in a place different to that of their origin. The relationship between the trees’ derivation and my own associations to those places is fundamental to their being chosen for this body of work. Thus, in a broader sense, the varied topography mirrors the migrations and movements of people, with the human reshaping of the natural world from its ‘original’ state to its current condition of layered and perpetual permutations.

While considering origins, the forest and its canopy of trees becomes apt as the place, whether in truth or fable, we came from. Birds, symbolic of migration, still know trees as their home. Through their movements they symbolise more than one place and the intermingling of origins and destinations. In Closer Than Known, the birds represent temporality and its inexorable presence, and in their decomposition suggest flight.

For me the physicality of land runs parallel to the physicality inherent in my darkroom interface, which enables me to interact with the place represented in each image on my own terms and to reflect on my relationships and experiences. Each outcome is unique. I use geometric angles and constructed planes to suggest our interference with nature and the desire to control the uncontrollable. As a result of this artifice, the landscapes within each of these images wonder if they are real or imagined.

Chloe Sells

Closer than Known is on at the Foto8 Print Room until 19 January 2012.