CHELSEA 

Artist Statement

Chelsea uses materials and techniques associated with both disciplines: painting and sculpture. Starting with unusual bases like concrete, steel or copper, she pours or dribbles paint, layers plaster or delicate gold leaf, then scrapes, cracks or corrodes her medium to get the effect she is searching for.

As an art student, Chelsea was profoundly influenced by fieldtrips to a coalmine in Wales, to stone quarries in Portland, Dorset, and particularly to the former shipyard, Swan Hunter, in the North-East of England. She still has a vivid memory of standing in the foundry, watching as formidable metals became malleable through intense pressure and heat.

"I can still feel the freezing cold, and recall the colour and intense heat of the furnace and the smell of molten metal" she says.

It was a formative experience and Chelsea knew she wanted to bring out the whole "harmonious, elemental' process in her work, or as she puts it: "Make something beautiful and delicate out of something as uncompromising as steel, stone, copper or lead or as delicate as gold, silver, copper leaf." However it is not the purity and permanence of the material that interests Chelsea, but how it ages.

For her, metal is a canvas on which she studies the effect of time, water and oxygen - mixing diluted nitric, hydrochloric acid, sea water and using it to corrode the protective oily skin that preserves the surface of steel, then scratching it to encourage rust.

On canvas she patiently layers upon layer to create three -dimensional abstracts - "paint sculptures" - where textures and colours merge and change with alterations in the light. As the art critic Alex Bahna-Philips notes, Chelsea's inspiration is the small, often unnoticed details which make up everyday life: "Chimney smoke, burnished gold, patterns under peeling paint, broken stairs leading nowhere, the ravages of time etched onto metal, a pathway through an arid landscape..."

With her roots in sculpture and her fascination with the passage of time and the relationship between objects and their environment, Chelsea's work fits into the tradition of land artists like Andy Gormley, who created the Angel of the North, the Spanish sculptor Eduardo Chillida and Andy Goldsworthy, whose work plays on the temporality of nature.

The interplay between gold and rust is a striking feature of some of Chelsea's most recent work, as are the nuanced browns - rich and glossy, scorched or earthy - which recreate the effect of aged wood. Her oil paintings capture the passing of the seasons, capturing the light, the moon, the sea, the cliffs and ravages of Nature on the shoreline.

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