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Turning Landscape Into Colour

McCausland, Onya Wilder; (2017) Turning Landscape Into Colour. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Through the practice of painting this research questions how geologically distinct earth colours that are constantly forming from coal mine water treatment waste in geographically varied landscapes across the UK can be used to re-view perceptions of colour, material, and connection with the contemporary landscape. If historical connections between colour and landscape have been expressed through the names of colours such as burnt sienna and, in the context of the UK, Oxford ochre, how can finding, naming and using new sources of earth colour re-establish links between colour and landscape? Over the course of several journeys across the UK, visiting 34 Mine Water Treatment Sites run by the Coal Authority, five previously un-used and un-named earth colours from different sites are selected and used here for the first time. What sets these new ochres apart is the quality of their colour and their formation processes inside the flooding cavities of former coal mines, inadvertently providing a sustainable source of earth colour at a time of increasingly scarce mineral resources that paradoxically point towards the causes of industrial pollution. The practice of making individual artworks reveal optical and material distinctions between the new colours while suggesting unexpected idiosyncratic connections between individual colours and the unique landscapes they belong to, further contributing to the discourse on contemporary landscape. This practice-led fine art research has inspired plans for the commercial production of a new paint made from these earth colours with AHRC collaborative partners Winsor & Newton. In addition, the informal partnership with the Coal Authority has laid foundations for a substantial collaboration that includes potentially naming and designating select Mine Water Treatment sites as new public artworks, with the possible formation of a pigment processing factory on one of these sites. These opportunities form the basis for further research.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Turning Landscape Into Colour
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > The Slade School of Fine Art
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10039744
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