Wetlands • Anne Deeming

Whether this changes anything. Weather – it changes everything. 
wood, hydrochromatic paint

Whether this changes anything. Weather – it changes everything. 
wood, hydrochromatic paint

Artist's Statement

A cluster of obviously human made objects are visible in the landscape. Some float idly in wetland ponds, occasionally chased by the wind, nomadic, restless. Through their movement they speak of the conflict between man and the natural environment and the competition between species for space and resources in the compact, city- surrounded site.

Individually crafted, but forming a distinct group featuring physical commonalities, they look familiar and usable in some way and yet are not. Painted using hydrochromic and luminescent paint as the weather conditions change, the work transforms again– at times revealed, and then concealed by changes in light, heat and precipitation, acting as visible indicators of the climate and its effects.

Additionally, through their colour metamorphoses they mimic the changes in plumage of the migratory species of birds present and seasonal colour and textural variations in plant life in this dynamic and ever- changing managed wild environment. In their shifting presence the work highlights the need for a heightened awareness and a collective reflection on how we affect and influence the natural world around us through the conflicts we create.

Audio Description Transcript

Whether this changes anything.  Weather – it changes everything by Anne Deeming


5 painted wooden objects float on the water The black and white sculptures move gently in the water.  When blown by the wind, they bob and bump alongside each other.  Ranging in size, the largest sculpture is 1 and a half meters in length with smaller works of around half a meter. These floating “islands” are made of plywood, with solid foam inside and painted outside to make them weatherproof. The floating objects bear some resemblance to things you might recognise – factory roof tops, canal boats, flood barriers.

As the title of the work suggests, the weather will impact how these sculptures appear and where they are sitting in the water on the day that you visit.

On a dry or sunny day.  There are two larger sculptures that resemble factory roofs.  One has a roof that is made of 5 acute triangles in a row.  Where the sculpture meets the water there are black markings that could resemble a boot print or the fine stripes of a tiger. The other factory is wide with a very low pitch roof – a single triangle visible above the water line.  The black paint here looks like the foot prints of a wading bird.

The smaller three sculptures are more abstract in shape.  One resembles the bonnet and windscreen of truck that is partially submerged in the water, or perhaps it is a canal boat.  This piece has a thick black brush strokes of paint across it.  Another resembles a butterfly roof, the roof sloping down in the centre and with a spattering of black paint across one corner – a flood barrier perhaps?  The third a single acute triangle with a clear circle of black paint and thick black lines on the roof – this shape most resembles a domestic roof.

On a wet day, whilst the shapes remain the same, the top layer of black and white paint changes to become transparent, revealing brighter colours underneath:  Reds, oranges, greens and blues. The colours underneath are taken from the local landscape and are painted in block colours over each sculpture.  Breaking up the sharp outlines of the sculptures, the colours both reveal and camouflage the works. To create this effect, the artist has used a special paint called Hydrochromatic paint.


Deeming says of her inspiration for the work:

I was thinking about the area of London that the wetlands centre is situated in, and the past industries: haulage via boats on the river, industrial factory areas, accommodation, a reservoir;  and how the purpose of the land has shifted to that of leisure pursuits and conservation. I wanted to make objects that would reference the past use of the land.”

She continues:

The land itself is a floodplain, and if sea levels rise, then the area could be reclaimed by the water.  I have been struck by images over the past few years of town floods across the country in the winter rains: cars floating; rivers bursting their banks; and flooded play grounds.  I wanted to reference the man made invasiveness of our constructions and human footprint and how vulnerable these things are.”