A Day in the Life II: Experimental landscapes with Kaitlyn Elphinstone

A blank canvas is the usual means by which an artist begins their creations; an entire blank room therefore presents an unusual and exciting challenge. This was the case in June, when artists David Bridgeman, Kaitlyn Elphinstone and Nickola McCoy were presented with bare walls, floor and ceilings at the National Gallery, as part of the Gallery’s second residency programme and exhibition, entitled A Day in the Life II. Business Editor, Lindsey Turnbull reports.

The artists’ brief was to create an exhibition over a two-week period, under the constant gaze of the passing public and with total freedom to explore any subject matter they desired.
Kaitlyn Elphinstone, education coordinator with the National Gallery took part in A Day in the Life of II exhibition and used the opportunity to explore some fundamental theories that are key to her art.
Kaitlyn explains: “I’m interested in man’s integration with the natural environment and in particular, man’s desire to control his environment. It’s an idea I’ve been looking to develop more.”
Her artwork for this exhibition, entitled Experimental Landscapes, is more a collection that a series, a wonderfully creative and colourful visualisation of her artistic thoughts, illustrating man’s desire to define his natural landscape via photographs, thought board, needlework, collage and more. Sea pods are constrained within string, photos contained within frames, sea fans bound within needlework.
An aquatic theme runs through the entire collection, with shades of aquamarine through to cobalt blue adding a cohesion to the overall exhibition. Beginning with a large scale thought board, Kaitlyn says she put this together in an attempt to define landscapes. The board describes all sorts of collected, contained and controlled objects and images (sea fans, balloons, sketches and notes, etc) all set together on a single board to encourage the thought process and is central to her exhibition.
Her ordered seascapes series turns the natural horizon on its side and therefore challenges the viewer to see the world from a different perspective. Photos have been digitally constructed to play with common perceptions around us.
“I am taking the viewer from shallow through to deep water,” she says. “Then I show the photos from a different angle to challenge the viewer to step out of their comfort zone!”
Using a low lens lomography camera (lomography emphasises casual, snapshot photography, with characteristics such as over-saturated colours, off-kilter exposure and blurring) Kaitlyn obviously had fun exploring her own chaos theory.
“Photography is our way of attempting to control the landscape,” she explains. “We crop out parts we don’t want to see and change the final product from what we originally saw.”
Continuing the theme of containment, Kaitlyn also shows via a ‘Views of care’ series, a series of bubble-wrapped trees, which she says, also symbolises man’s desire to contain and control. “Left up to the viewer, Kaitlyn says the bubble wrap may be seen as having a positive or negative impact on the trees it encompasses.
“I’ve got loads of ideas for my next exhibition,” she enthuses. “Next time I want to try and bubble-wrap the entire tree!”
Watch this space for more news on Kaitlyn’s artistic abilities.


Kaitlyn with her thought board