© Stephen Eastaugh, 2019. All Rights Reserved.
After fourteen days at sea I finally arrived at the ice edge of Antarctica. Davis Base is in East Antarctica, 68 degrees south or directly below India on your world map. The voyage across the Southern Ocean was mostly smooth with the odd seven metre wave. Plenty of icebergs, seals and penguins to watch as we slowly sailed into a polar summer with a serious lack of night-time. The sun will not really set for six weeks and every day the temperature floats just below zero.
My studio is located in the upper heli-hut donga which is a red cargo container sitting upon another by the helicopter pads on the outskirts of the station. A verandah and three windows offer views of the ice berg littered Prydz Bay and the Vestfold Hills.
In the studio I will focus on marrying landscape with my particular flavour of abstraction. Ice, rock, lake and mountain -scapes will be in bedded with experiential data, text and Antarctic motifs. I will be busy with a series of work I call Unmapping. Unlike cartography which is concerned with location, law, topography and information, I concern myself with dislocation, experimentation, imagined space and mystery, all somehow tainted by Antarctica. Over the years art and maps have enabled me to explore the fuzzy borders of geography and mind. I have found myself many times in foreign lands hopelessly trying to refold enormous maps back to their original pocket size. Here in the studio I will for three months paint and contemplate how to refold or express the tricky mysteries of Antarctica via my art. I shall eventually get to someplace or other with this lost cartography or Unmapping of mine. It is good to know that even when lost I am somewhere. While I am living at this unusual science driven village I will also endeavour to find out if this remote region of the planet is really profound or is it just cold and boring? Where is the sublime bit? Why is this an addictive continent to many people? Is danger really that sexy? And how tasty is Antarctic pesto made from hydroponically grown basil?