Stibbon is fascinated by environments in flux, and her work explores the impact of natural forces and human activity on some of the most inhospitable and environmentally vulnerable parts of the world. This exhibition and book document Stibbon’s fieldwork and journeys that have led her from the frozen extremes of Antarctica to volatile landscapes, such as Hawai’i, which have been shaped by volcanic activity. Sketches made during her travels and ephemera will be displayed alongside drawings and prints made in Stibbon’s studio.
Stibbon engages with her subject through drawing from observation out in the field. Concerned with immediately recording the information or experience, Stibbon uses wet media for speed such as watercolour or Indian ink. She varies her drawing tools between brushes, dip pens, and found media and pigment, including volcanic ash. The sketches have the immediacy of work made at speed using materials to hand and produced in difficult circumstances and often frozen conditions.
Stibbon comments; “I have some trepidation about exposing my sketchbook drawings, they are usually a private space and I rarely show them. They are often made in uncomfortable circumstances where my media is freezing on the brush or I am having difficulty holding the paper in high winds. But sometimes a strange alchemy of media and looking happens; when I review a drawing I realise I have enormous recall and the act of drawing has imprinted it onto my memory. It is the magical properties of drawing that keep me out there.”
Committed to representing the dynamic effects of change in landscape, including many sites that will change beyond recognition within our lifetime, the works on display are based on research expeditions to Arctic and Antarctic Oceans; Hawai’i; Norway; Iceland and Stromboli, off the coast of northern Sicily.
The exhibition is located in the Print Project Space. The publication Emma Stibbon: Fire and Ice (112 pages and 50 illustrations) includes an introductory text by Stibbon and commentary on the making of each image.