Commonly considered the greatest exercise in land exploitation is gold mining. I was inspired to work with gold after a friend and I were driving through a remote part of Swaziland, where we came across a new gold mine. The destruction of the natural landscape was devastating, and I could not help but wonder why humankind was prepared to ruin natural sites in order to excavate its resources. I wanted to know what value it adds to our lives.
My research revealed that the answer lies in personal adornment, and it is fact that some 50% of all new gold produced is fabricated into jewellery. This staggering statistic led my process to returning the gold back to the land, metaphorically speaking. In my Monuments series I apply real gold leaf to paintings of sites of human-made landscapes as a way to monumentalise humankind’s self-destructive industrial prowess.
The gold has a lively reflective quality. It shines almost white when reflecting sunlight, gold under lamp light, and sometimes totally recedes into the background.