Many of us have experienced solastalgia, even if we didn’t realise there was a word to describe it. Coined by the philosopher Glenn Albrecht, it describes the state of distress caused by environmental change, or “the homesickness you have when you are still at home”. Ballarat-based artist Kim Anderson creates works that make visceral this sense of grief and despair we feel as the world changes around us – as climate change ransacks fragile ecosystems with fire and flood.
Kim has long been fascinated with making visible internal turmoil, embodying grief and longing to create hauntingly beautiful images. Through her work she creates a visual topography of emotion and experience by visualising her inner psyche as a landscape.
Her latest works are based on photographs of herself taken on solo excursions into the wilderness of Scotland, undertaking what she describes as “a solitary performance that oscillates between awe, despair, mourning, reverence and solace.” She then translates these images into painstakingly detailed drawings, using fine ink pens and charcoal pencils to meticulously reinvent the images of her wanderings.
“Drawing is fundamental to everything I do – I love the immediacy and honesty of it,” she says. “There is almost no limit to the kinds of marks you can make, and with every drawing I undertake, I feel like I’m discovering a new graphic language.”
The artist doesn’t aim to faithfully recreate the photographs she works from, but instead uses the depth and texture provided by her tools to convey something more than the original image can. This is particularly clear in her use of texture, comparing and contrasting the human and the natural to universalise the experiences of the individual, and create emotional connections between mankind and our dying planet.
Kim originally completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) at the University of Ballarat Arts Academy (now Federation University), before being awarded a scholarship to study a Master of Fine Art at the University of Dundee in Scotland. She credits her time there as being particularly influential and has since continued to explore the UK, having recently finished a residency on the Isle of Skye in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. Kim is scheduled to have an exhibition in Hobart in December this year, and in Melbourne in June 2021.