Elizabeth Woodger's solo exhibition Diagenesis open in Studio 10 Project Space on 6 January 2024, and continue until 4 February 2024. Opening hours: 10am - 5pm daily.
Diagenesis is a multidisciplinary creative project that blends photography and geology to examine the relationship between humans and environment. The series examines the landscape along the Somerset coast and through Exmoor National Park, and uses it as an allegory for global ecological issues. The windswept moors and ancient woodlands may look wild and untamed, but these places have actually been managed and influenced by humans for many thousands of years. The simple truth is that there are now very few environments left untouched by human behaviour; such is the nature of the Anthropocene Epoch.
In order to create the images for Diagenesis, I made a series of conventional photographic prints and folded them into complex three-dimensional forms. Hiatuses appeared in the landscape. Discordant elements were juxtaposed. And the original landscape photographs were fragmented by faults and folds. In the Anthropocene, where humans are endowed with the power of a geological agent, this meticulous folding signifies a fundamental reshaping of the environment. But by returning these photographic objects to the landscape, they are subjected to unpredictable natural forces.
The lens captures moments when high winds grip the folded forms, when water droplets accumulate in the folded valleys, and when the human hand intervenes to reshape the objects. The physical objects radiate tension between control and chaos as agency is transferred away from their maker. In effect, the objects and the environment become co-actors in a performance personifying the primal connection between humanity and natural world.
The past few years have shown us what happens when humans exploit the natural world, and yet there is an increasing desire for people to re-connect with nature. It is my hope, that by introducing a nonhuman perspective into my photography, it may be possible to facilitate an erosion of the long-established boundaries between culture and nature, and thereby expand the dialogue surrounding the prevailing environmental crises.
As a former geologist with a PhD in palaeoclimatology, Elizabeth Woodger’s creative practice represents a form of environmental and ecological research; she investigates how landscapes have been shaped and how they respond to human influence. Her work combines studio-based construction with outdoor experimentation in order to create spontaneous and evocative imagery. Much of her photography is characterised by tactile transformative processes, such as the physical and chemical manipulation of photographic prints. She also incorporates many natural elements into her artworks; the sunlight, trees, plants, rivers, rocks and waves of her surrounding countryside. In essence, Woodger’s photographic practice creates a mechanism through which she can explore her local landscape, respond to global environmental issues, and reflect on the inherent connections between humans, environment and natural processes.