My work is driven by two main preoccupations: the human relationship with our environment, and the materials with which I choose to work. I see my processes as a conversation between the realities of today’s environment, and the ongoing need of people to have access to wild spaces. Having been raised in a coal-mining town where my father worked in those mines, I am actutely aware of the economic and health hardships caused by both industrial and technological industries, and I explore those tensions in my body of work. My work is also profoundly influenced by my experiences as an adult immigrant to the US and, having lived in several states, I have witnessed the changing phsyical landscapes, industries, and both of these factors affect local communities.
My process begins with walks in nature and communities, collecting from the environment I find myself in – plastic discarded bags become mold forms that I cast in concrete, the ubiquitous material of modernity, altered with drawing materials and pigments; old tree stumps become art objects, as a kind of plinth holding casts of fast food cartons. The forms I create reflect the geology and topography of our planet, and the new grids and constructions that humans have built, and how we use those spaces. Fossilization occurs naturally with limestone and minerals, over aeons in geological terms, but my casting processes in speed that up into weeks and days. My exterior installations echo the spaces our ancestors enclosed for themselves, such as at Stonehenge in the UK, which function as a tangible conduit between nature and humankind. Do we still have that need today and how do we as a society address it? I imagine that one day they might end up buried as geological relics, in the Anthropocene strata along with the metal, glass and steel of our cities, for future archeologists to rediscover.
What will our future environments and habitats be like, on this planet or the next?
— Alison Jardine, 2023.
“Alison Jardine’s concrete sculptures are simultaneously (and perplexingly) playful and somber. Cast into pieces of found plastic debris, these relief sculptures from the artist’s Urban Flora series monumentalize the careless, yet distinct folds of trash bags. Although initially deceptive, the swiftest of second glances reveals that what looks to be a stretched plastic bag is actually concrete. This paradoxical preservation of the insignificant remnants of our consumer culture is only one of many tantalizing dichotomies in Jardine’s work. The sculptures meld geometric and organic forms, are at once seemingly indestructible and fragile, and explore themes of permanence and temporality. In drawing upon minimalist aesthetics, feminist theory, and the dark humor of British pop art, Jardine seeks to create ‘objects from a future past’ that give voice to the achievements and pitfalls of our Anthropocene era.” Read more…
by Georgia Erger
(Courtauld Institute, Southern Methodist University)