Lila Kibel

Artist Catalogue

Virtual Exhibition

Silent Warning

Exploring materiality and entanglement within the Anthropocene 

My interest in materiality and the concept of entanglement stems from my work as an artist troubled by the dangers of extinction and the vulnerability of our planet. The Anthropocene refers to the geological epoch in which humans are the major force determining the habitability of the planet caught between an “entanglement of needs and consumerism’’(Tsing, 2017: 2). I use both natural and man-made debris found from coastal walks at the sea to produce and generate meaning. The fluidity of my process allows for curiosity and experimentation as I work in an intuitive and empathic way. Sometimes the layers of intertwined materials may appear chaotic and reveal an internal turmoil yet at the same time there is a joy and a soothing rhythm in the act of making. I would like to think of my seemingly chaotic layers of entangled materials as reflecting my emotional response to the detrimental impact to our ecosystem.

My body of work includes ink drawings, textured paintings and sculptural installation.  The drawings are made from quink, jik and crayons and expose the traces of marks to suggest erasure, layering and a haunting. Many of the paintings are abstract vistas of ghostly seascapes made of transparent turquoise washes embedded with fine plastic ghost nets and textures. These tentative dots are like utterances that permeate the surface, almost invisible, referencing the billions of micro plastics dumped in the ocean. The dots also allude to the shimmering of the light as it catches the movement on the water. A series of paintings entitled Striped reveals the strata of layers made from torn paintings, mixed with scavenged litter. The process of striping often allows for a subtle balance between chance and design allowing for unexpected discoveries.

As a painter I enjoyed the making of a variety of subtle colours and textures found within seaweed. The pouring of glue and ink on bubble plastic allowed me to experiment from a more malleable liquid to a more sculptural form. It was an exciting shift as my painted surfaces started to dry and morph into a sculptural piece of crumpled seaweed. Kelp forest is suggestive of the entanglement of human progress alongside the ecological decline. My sculptural forms exist simultaneously in two ways as effective evocations of seaweed, but also as discarded waste. I am not trying to disguise the materials, therefore both readings of the objects are available simultaneously. Within the Kelp forest, the holdfast is a reminder that we have lost our connection to the natural world suspended without groundedness.

It is my hope to bring awareness of this silent warning through these visual utterances made up of entangled materiality. While these hauntings are sometimes invisible, they suggest the force of potential ruination. While I long for unspoiled natural beauty, my urge is to remain curious to find ways of preserving our fragile environment.