Monday, February 25, 2008
Sunday, February 17, 2008
At the Exchange Gallery they have created an interactive installation developed from a single grain of rice. By using a single grain of rice to represent a single individual, otherwise abstract human statistics take on a more personal and tangible significance. The statistics are arranged in labeled piles that evolve as a result of discussions with with visitors to the event. The statistics range from the number of millionaires to the number of people displaced by the conflict in Darfur on a global scale to the more local statistics of the number of children employed in Cornish mining in 1839 to the number who journeyed to Gwennap Pit in 1871 to hear John Wesley preach.
The work that is the most evocative for me is in Gallery 1, where Cornish born painter Margo Maeckelberghe is showing Extended Landscapes. These expressive coastal and moorland landscapes explore the rhythms of the underlying structures.
Illustrated is Highland Carne 1972 which shows broard sweeps of red/brown winter bracken and striking yellow of spring furze set against the omnipresent greys of granite boulders and rain laden sky.
The areas of 'shadows' are formed by multiple layers of washi paper, the more layers the less light gets through.
Shoko explained (through an interpreter) that Hemp was the original fibre for paper in Japan with Mulbery and rice comming later. She uses fine grade mulberry paper and rice (or starch) glue. The washi paper has very long fibers which makes it strong and difficult to tear against the grain. To tear against the grain first fold along the desired tear line and then lightly wet the fold, this will weaken the fibers and allow tearing. The characteristic long fibers mean that the paper can be layered with very little glue. Lightly beating the layers with the paste brush helps the glue penetrate the fibers of sucessive layers. It is the glue that gives her work its shine, the first layer has the shine and the last is more matt. Above is my sample from the workshop before drying.
Latvian artist Dzintra Vilks uses observational drawing as the starting point for her works. Her forms constructed of bamboo and cotton often produce strong shadows and yet are very soft in their colouring, relying on subtle tonal changes to give greater depth to the work.
Mare Kelpman is exhibiting lasercut polyamid patterns drawn from traditional Estonian embroidery. The vastly exagerated scale, overlapping shadows and cutting edge materials/techniques emphasise that this piece is capturing a moment in time and transcending its traditional roots.
Shelly Goldsmith has been looking at methods of liberating tapestry from its place on the wall. This three-dimensional piece indicates ideas of excesses being built up in some areas whilst others are lacking and references her ongoing interest in flooding and drought.