Eleanor Wood
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Division and Displacement series, 2004

18 x 18 inches each
watercolor and mixed media on paper
(including acrylic co-polymer emulsion and wax)

In August 2002 a few days before leaving home to come to California  I opened The Guardian newspaper and read Richard Mabey’s article entitled “Displacement Theory: How moving house can change more than just your address.”  

 In Mabey’s article, he questions whether landscape can shape one’s personality.  He asks if leaving makes one aware of one’s own assumptions.  Here we have less contact with those who have shared memories and shared histories.   Mabey concludes: “Take your chances, make the best of things, go with the flow.”  (Richard Mabey was describing the experience of moving from the Chiltern Hills in Buckinghamshire, England to ‘a damp patch in Norfolk’ in the east of the same country.)

When artists move studios, and more so when they make a major geographical move, there is often a significant change in their work.  It is interesting to track the impact that a different geography has upon artistic output.  The works within the series Division and Displacement were made soon after moving from England to the United States.  The most tangible change that has taken place is in the overall format, which has altered from being rectangular and page-like in shape, to being square.  Compositions echo the situation the artist now finds herself in.  One square sits upon another, neither entirely at odds nor entirely in tune. The smaller drawn square is, significantly, often askew or out of kilter in its placement.