This series of drawings depicts architectural structures currently being subsumed by the forest. Starting at my home, I walk out and onto ancient footpaths and into the woods in Italy’s Apennine mountains. Repeatedly walking the routes that create a network between villages, I have witnessed the covering and partial disappearance of architectural structures made by the Sannite and Roman peoples, and family members who have worked the land since.
As the structure of the Italian family and labour patterns continue to shift, fewer people are sustained by working land. Dry-stone terraces built by hand to clear the ground for arable and pasture use are now largely shrouded in green: oak, beech and birch grow undisturbed, nurturing wild boar, deer, pine martin, porcupine, chamoix, wolves and bears. Hunting has diminished, birds are returning. Orchids and saffron-bearing croci give way to fungi as each new year ends.
As I live between Scotland and Italy, these watercolour drawings were made from memory, to make place present, whilst in Covid self-isolation in Strathaven in Dec 2020.
Tracy Mackenna (SCO-IT) is an artist and educator, Professor Emerita, and an alumna of The Glasgow School of Art and The Hungarian University of Fine Arts. She is Curator of The Museum of Loss and Renewal, with the artist Dr Edwin Janssen. She exhibits internationally and has had solo exhibitions at e.g. Barbican Centre, London; CCA Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow; Arnolfini, Bristol. In her individual practice and research Tracy employs drawing, writing and video as dialogical processes to activate playful, provocative and non-linear properties of language within visual art practice, giving new and refreshed voice to collaborators and subject-matters.