Esther Rolinson is an artist who explores sensation and felt experience from the starting point of drawing. She makes independent and site-specific sculptures and installations and animates found and self- generated images that are often developed into sculptural works. She has major permanent installations in the UK and has toured large-scale temporary works internationally.
Esther’s work sits at the intersection between art, architecture and computer technology. For each artwork she seeks out materials, ranging from glass, metal and wood to paper and software. She experiments with both untested and well-tried methods and collaborates with manufacturers and other creative makers to achieve her the pieces. This has led her to work with architects, engineers and programmers.
The role of drawing as a way to understand and develop three-dimensional structures and animated sequences is pivotal in Esther’s creative process. She uses simple pencil and paper to inks, pastels and markers with works ranging in scale up to 4 or 5 metres that are often made in the open air. As part of her drawing process Esther also explores mark making to build up abstract forms as a way of uncovering patterns and pacing out rhythms of movement. The drawings are artworks in their own right and are also sequential annotations and purposeful plans for forms and environments. When Esther takes the drawings into three dimensions she uses the same instinctive approach. “I see the lines in the forms in a similar way to pencil marks and am playing with how the shapes connect with each other, wrapping and folding through imagined pathways.”
Esther has always used digital technology in her art. In her latest series of works she has been exploring the use of software to create sensitive movement patterns with light through physical structures. In October this year, Esther exhibited Flown, a large-scale hand folded light installation at the Illuminating York Light festival. Flown is a re-configurable ‘cloud’ constructed from over 800 individual pieces of folded acrylic, suspended above the audience’s heads. Illuminated with 100 lamps, waves of animated light pass through the hazy structure like lightning in a distant storm cloud.
To make Flown and earlier light installations, Melt, Splinter and Thread, Esther worked with Sean Clark, Dave Everitt and Graeme Stuart to develop software that created a series of patterns and movements in the behaviour of the lighting. The patterns and movements reflect the dynamics expressed in her drawings, generating a behavioural language that inherently relates to her sculptural and drawn forms.