Serena Smith

When flushed with water the pale grey stone darkens, and what becomes easier to detect are clues to what lies below.  Revealed by wetting the surface: a distinct red stain of iron deposit, the peppering of a rash of dark spots, and streaking through the grey, a wave of warmer pigment. Veining the grey limestone are linear tracks of silica, one of which traces a disjuncture in the primary formation; a fault line along which the stone might suddenly break as it wears thinner with use.  Caught in freeze frame by this imprint from shifting sands in deep geological time, the flickers of an unwritten past, a captured moment in the stone’s ontogenesis.  Compressed into this dormant material, and discretely witnessed by these interruptions in the homogeneity of its fabric, the sedimented history of a virtual past. And the potential for events yet to unfold. 'On Stone', Inscription: the Journal of Material Text - Theory, Practice, History. Vol. 1. (due September 2020)

On the underside of these flayed strips highways of woodworm furrows are etched into the bast. Close up the outer surfaces scarred and callused, depict traces of microclimate and the attentive labour of human hands. Their decay halted temporarily by my curiosity, I consider these shards of wood. The iterative patterns of growth determined by genus, the history worn in each crevice and crease, and the small round holes signalling the flight paths of previous inhabitants. Distinctly round, these holes the size of pin heads pepper the bark’s surface. Each one puncturing the wrinkled membrane like a radiographer’s tattoo. 'Ekphrasis: inscriptions on wood and stone', IMPACT Printmaking Journal. Issue 1. (Spring 2020) >> 

At a first glance, not to disturb the ground I trod carefully, thinking the creature might still be there. But on closer inspection the snake had gone, eased itself out, neatly shed the skin, and moved on; leaving behind this translucent doppelganger, a ghostlike facsimile of every scale. For millennia, this elegant undressing must have been repeated. Remembered in the tracery of this discarded shell; imprinted in the geometric design of interlocking filigree; duplicated in each cell of the intricate patina; returned to and replayed, each time the same but different; the force of nature’s habit. 'Ecdysis - moving on', from the Reside Residency 2016 >>. Writings from the residency are published in the bookwork Ecdysis >>

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