Beyond the Pale explores a narrative around territory, land and belonging on the Anglo-Scottish border and beyond and inspired is by the artist walking the length this border during an artist’s residency in Northumberland in 2016. Zoe uses photography, drawing, mapping and text-based art to build a poignant body of work questioning the notion of nationhood and landscape in the 21st century.
Making this walk alone, Zoe gathered a wealth of material about life on the border including historical archives, contemporary news, border ballads and local traditions such as Cumbrian and Westmorland wrestling. She met and interviewed people who live on both sides of the line, learning about their relationship with place, past and present and their underestimated cultural identity as Borderers.
The walk coincided with the Brexit vote and Zoe discovered that the border continues to be a focus of debate over sovereignty raising issues of nationalism and identity, which is reflected in the anxiety over the refugee crisis and international political zeitgeist.
The rigorous approach to the drawings and map works is a way of seeking order within an overwhelming world. Attempting to hand draw the fleeting and magical phenomenon of a murmuration of starlings or the vascular-like flow of the watercourses, points to a nostalgic endeavour in a digital age, when orbiting satellite are constantly recording and transmitting our attempts to get lost.
Photographic work from the exhibition can be seen here