Ode to Indigo 2, 2019
Ode to Indigo 1 and 2 honour the natural colour extract derived from Indigoflora. Alluding to the three-part lyrical poetic form that praises and glorifies, these works encourage a visual and psychological sojourn into “indigo blueness”. Through a landscape of foreground, middleground and distance—beyond plants that’s leaves yield this particular colour—is an optical play with transparency and opacity, with tonal and chromatic relationships with spatial dynamics. The handmade paper that is tinted with watercolour pigment and is laminated over a grid of thread is a surface for gouache and coloured pencil. It refers to the cultural traditions of indigo and textile dyeing. Indigo can be traced back over 5,000 years to the Indus Valley and seventh century BC clay tablets of Mesopotamia record it. In the 1500’s the Portuguese shipped the dye to Europe from India, and by the mid 17th century, the French had established crops in the Caribbean Islands. South Carolina, in the USA, became fertile soil for the plant when the Americans manufactured it. However, when Britain moved the ‘blue’ industry back to its origins in India, it was “indigo blue denim” that kept the colour alive and familiar—even today.