CONCEPT Nicola Dale's imaginative work puts her at the forefront of contemporary artists who re-imagine the role of the printed text. 1
What does knowledge look like? My practice visualises the acquisition of knowledge – how I capture, process and understand what I read. I imagine what a particular piece of knowledge might look like and create a physical form from this abstract idea. I am increasingly drawn to how we format knowledge and how this is changing over time; the book (the traditional but endangered repository of knowledge) inevitably recurs as both a theme and a medium in my work.
PROCESS Growing slowly and patiently, formed without machinery or technology, becoming beautifully designed products almost accidentally… Dale values material objects, the physical sensation of existing and the total satisfaction of hand making or improving something mundane and rewards us with a refreshing take on the typical. 2
My working methods are repetitive and deliberately painstaking, reflecting my ongoing pre-occupation with the passage of time. I revel in slow, human imprecision, challenging the speed and accuracy of the digital world. Whether cutting, folding, re-shaping, ordering or arranging, I seriously and relentlessly take my time. My process is performative: each action accumulates into a huge sequence of repeated actions; but my labours are invisible, hidden within the studio, in my own space and time.
PRESENTATION Fascinated by the idea that playing with context and physical form can alter the way we look at things, [Dale] frequently makes pieces that take on radically different appearances when viewed from different angles or in different settings. 3
My practice is transformative – I translate my understanding of a concept into a series of actions to be applied to an existing object. However, the transformation continues well beyond the studio: many of the pieces are intentionally malleable and can be re-arranged, re-ordered or re-configured to reflect new surroundings. They alter their appearance from one exhibition to the next and in this way, by changing over time, the pieces come to life. They are stubbornly transient.
1 Kate Flint, Provost’s Professor of English and Art History, University of Southern California 2 Jane Faram, Article Magazine, “Artist Profile No. 10”, September 2011 3 Christine Antaya, Book Art: Iconic Sculptures and Installations Made from Books (Gestalten, 2011)