Can Serrat Artist Residency at Catalonia International Art Centre, Barcelona

By September 24, 20152015

In July, I was an artist-in-residence 45 km outside of Barcelona within Montserrat National Park. Can Serrat is a converted farmhouse for artists and writers to focus on their practice within the beautiful setting of Montserrat mountain.

The purpose of my self-directed residency was to develop artistic themes related to human-environment interaction through field research and material experimentation.

The “serrated mountain” is a crossroads for religious pilgrims, rock climbers and artists alike. “Peak-experiences” or unforgettable epiphanies, as Abraham Maslow describes, are of particular interest to me and Montserrat proved to be an excellent site for exploring this. My research led me to explore plein air painting while rock climbing, document mountain features with rock rubbings, wild camp in a cave and build relationships with the people of El Bruc. My field research was realized through interview notes, plein air paintings and video footage later used for an installation.

Another focus of my residency was to play with the landscape painting tradition through installation. The combination of projected video, a 360-degree map, climbing equipment and stones from the mountain facilitated an immersive experience where the subject, participant and media are not defined, but rather a fluid landscape of light, shadow and contour. In this, questions of connection to place, ownership and identity begin to assist in reimagining our relationship to the natural world. This piece was installed for our Open Studio in late July.

I am truly thankful for my time of growth at Can Serrat, and for all the incredible artists and adventurers I met there. This residency gifted me with unlimited freedom to rethink my creative process and bring clarity moving forward. I am also very grateful to Can Serrat for the support stipend awarded upon acceptance as this truly made this endeavour possible.

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