Derek Sullivan
Field Works

18 April to 25 May 2024

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Field Works started with walking. Walking is work in a field.

The nature of walking is slow and unhurried, and this innate slowness makes space for ruminations. It encourages the mind to move at the cadence of our feet, steadily meanderingly. To consider the act of walking "work" is to take a subversive detour. This work resists a prioritization of efficiency and could fall into the category of doing nothing; this, of course, depends on your definition of doing "something." The subversion lies in the decision to make walking the destination and to consider idling efficacious.

Field Works brings together three projects developed in response to rural locations in Lumsden, Aberdeenshire, Scotland; and King City and Tamworth, Ontario. It was in these locations that Derek Sullivan found himself working.

He found himself picking up small objects (a stone, a shell, a twig, a feather, a piece of glass) and idly carrying it throughout a walk: something to hold in the hand, maybe something to get grounded with (and later find in the washing machine after being left in a pocket), something connected to a different scale of time.

He found himself out standing in a field and thinking about his email or, even worse, thinking about art finding this distraction disorienting.

When struggling to fall asleep, he often found himself imagining a previous walk, recalling it in there-and-back again detail. Or sometimes recalling the dungeon crawl on 1980s Wizardry video games: the cursor-click breadcrumb dropping routes in and out of labyrinths.

These field works are products of attempts to get oriented, to find direction or context, and to grapple with being situated. He found himself desiring to move at the pace of thought or thoughtfulness.