Rachael Clewlow “Explorer” 2011


“Rachael Clewlow meticulously documents the ways in which she inhabits the city in which she lives: the routes she takes through it, the times and dates of her travels, and the methods by which (to paraphrase Warhol) she moves from A to B and back again.

Several of the artists in ‘Walk On’ use GPS technologies to monitor their own movements through space. Clewlow, by contrast, prefers what the writer Robert Macfarlane has punningly called “the old ways”: she keeps a series of “statistical diaries” in which routes, traditional pathways or not, are “logged, through dedicated, almost ritualistic daily recording”. These diaries are exquisite objects in their own right. They are also the source material for Clewlow·s pictorial inventions.

Like other artists here, Clewlow creates her own systems of translation by which the patterns of her own mobility become abstract patterns of form and color. She describes her process as “the organization and presentation of related data, accumulated over years” into abstract imagery which “recalls the visual language of maps and their color coding systems, though their graphic style belies the rigorous and precise handmade approach to making them”. Indeed, Clewlow plays with the idea that her works should be functional, deliberately making them lie on the borders of legibility. Her conceptual and material dexterity ensure that her works instigate journeys in our imaginations.”