Esther Rolinson is known for her stunning light installations. At the heart of her art practice is the act of drawing itself from which sculptural works emerge directly into subtle and complex shapes. The relationship between drawing and sculptural form is essential to the nature of the light and movement elements in the artworks. Rolinson's works have the simplicity of pencil drawings but are actually highly technical and complex. Her signature is clearly visible in the striking combinations of animated light which present the viewer with stimulating experiences that dwell in the mind long after the event.
In 2016 Rolinson and her collaborator Sean Clark won the Lumen Prize Sculpture & 3D Award for the work 'Flown', an extendable light structure made up of over 800 hand folded acrylic pieces, illuminated with delicate programming. Here Linda Candy chats to Esther Rolinson to find out more about her art, her relationship with technology and how she makes it happen.
LC: Can we rewind to 1999 to look at where your exploration into technology began?
ER: Yes! I had just joined a residency programme at Loughborough University. The artists and technologists involved were in the early stages of investigating whether digital technologies could offer new ways of working in the arts and what kind of collaboration was needed to help artists participate fully. The artists found themselves in the driving seat, in charge of their self-defined projects with the technologists willing to respond as assistants or, if required, as partners. It was early days in this ‘art-tech’ arena and I had to evolve an approach to using digital technologies from scratch. I recognised instantly what these new tools could offer my art practice, and worked hard to form positive, mutually beneficial working relationships with collaborators to best utilize their technological knowhow.
LC: Fast forward to 2017. Your approach remains the same, yet your ideas feel ever fresh. What stands out is the consistency of your working practice and the total coherence of the artworks that emerge.
ER: Thank you. That process is open and exploratory, a continual search for the exact structure and materials in an endeavour to make evocative sculptural forms combining movement with light. I always strive to push the boundaries of different kinds of technologies during my collaborative investigations.