Red Studio Enquiry – residency at the former home and studio of Mary Potter, Aldeburgh, Suffolk
Week one, Hayley Field
This week has helped sharpen my sense of Mary Potter and how she worked. During my time at Red Studio I re-read ‘A life in painting’, her son’s book about her life and work, and spent time exploring the Aldeburgh landscape of sea, river and marshland. Having the time to look closely at Mary’s work in the Red House Library really drove home that although her paintings are known for their quiet muted tones and domestic scale and content, her mark making was challenging and confident. Their chalky surfaces require careful looking.
Mandy Bentley’s talk on Mary Potter at the start of the residency really helped set the tone of appreciating the unique quality of her work. It also brought up issues of legacy and ownership – of how we individually interpret an artist’s work and the meaning we bring to it through our own experience.
I have spent most of my time exploring the location through video, photography, sketching and keeping a daily journal. Through the vast studio window I watched the light constantly change and mapped the alternating colours throughout the week to try and capture them for future reference. I cannot yet imagine the impact that being here may have on my work.
I have never worked in residence before and had to deal with my own expectations of myself and what I could achieve in a week. I am really looking forward to being back at Red Studio to work collaboratively with Jacqueline and Claudia and deepen our enquiry together, having let this experience begin to settle in.