David Cass | Notes from the Studio28 May 2020
As we grow and age and change, so too do our seas. When I was born in Leith in 1988, the level of the Firth of Forth was over seven centimetres lower. Sea levels are rising around the world, but for various reasons, the rate of rise is uneven. I moved to London last year, and even here, inland, the level of the Thames has risen.
Most of the artworks I’m currently producing reference themes related to the environment, and many explore aspects such as sea rise. My previous Scottish Gallery solo exhibition – Rising Horizon – aimed to present this issue in almost every work. From a painted copper boiler (directly linking to our warming seas) to a painted sign for engine oil (suggestive of our over-dependence on fossil fuels).
As we emerge from the Coronavirus lockdown, we will all have to consider ecologically attentive paths forward. The Earth has been offered some breathing space as a result of our time spent indoors, and we can’t let things return to the way they were. We must move forward with sustainability in mind, and artists have a role to play here too: we should consider the footprint of our creative processes.
I believe that pace is also important within an artist’s practice, and so as well as tackling a range of scales; I also produce artworks that celebrate recycled and found materials. So much has come before; so much exists out there. Evidence of lives lived are etched into everything.
The stark reality is that if we don’t do all we can, our planet will suffer, and our coastal locations will be among the first casualties. That seven centimetres of sea-rise across my life so far might not sound much, but the rate of rise around the world has increased in recent years. Every year another few millimetres will be added to that total...David Cass, 2020