Kathy Prendergast

Kathy Pendergast was born in 1958 in Dublin, and lives and works in London. Prendergast is well known for her City Drawing project which she started in 1992, she produced detailed pencil maps of the world’s capital cities, and now the work is part of the permanent collection of the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Prendergast particularly wanted a long standing project to delve into, as opposed to the piece by piece basis nature of her early work. Prendergsat specifically omits significant information in her city scapes so they become unknown.

Kathy Prendergast, Cotopaxi
 2013 watercolour on printed paper 37 x 55.4 cm / 14.6 x 21.8 in image size 

For this blog post instead of looking at Prendergast’s pencil drawn city scapes I was instead interested by Prendergast’s productions of the volcanoes – Cotopaxi and Chimborazo in Ecuador. Prendergast uses watercolour on printed paper to depict the mountainous ranges of these places.

Kathy Prendergast, Chimborazo,  watercolour on printed paper 37 x 55.4 cm  / 14.6 x 21.8 in

To begin with I started to explore my own environment using google maps to look at the patterns and shapes. I zoomed out so I could see my home town as well as surrounding areas including London and Kent and the River Thames weaving through it. I then adjusted the view to look at the road maps as well as satellite view, and then manipulated the images and inverted the colours using digital software.

I also picked up some graph paper which reminded me of the paper Prendergast used in her water colours. Instead of producing an entire painting I decided to paint the graph paper using both acrylic and water colour, quite haphazardly, and then ripping the paper into shreds. I particularly wanted the jagged and unusual edges to form, which are reminiscent of Prendergast’s jagged edge paintings of the Ecuadorian volcanoes.

Once I had created these colourful shreds of paper I started assembling them. I didn’t want to create something that was representative of the earlier digital maps I had created, I wanted to experiment and make something more abstract. Below is the triptych I made in response to Prendergast’s work.

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