In this interview I gain insight into the exhibition ‘Extra Ordinary” (which is curated by Jane Boyer and Rosalind Davis) and the developments they have made within their practices since showing at Core Gallery’s DX Open Submission in September 2010.
CP: Can you tell us more about the work(s) that have been selected for the forthcoming show ‘Extra-ordinary’ at Core Gallery?
|To the unknown master © tom butler|
|Nannys Boy © Alyson Heyler|
|Tied Pair, 2001, Tissue Paper © Marion Michell|
|Five perfect maidens, 2010/11, artificial hair, double-pointed knitting needles, twigs, wire, approx 20 - 25 cm x 25 - 30 cm © Marion Michell|
What ties the work together is the urge to make manifest emotional states, esp. anxieties about difference and otherness, but also the question how the feeling of being different might manifest in a physical way. Initially my work was very much anchored in the real but lately the shapes have become freer, stranger, and at the same time more concentrated.
|Tender Pervert. 2011, oil on linen on board, 66cm x 55cm © Alyson Heyler|
TB: I think the sculptural element of Marion’s work is going to give the exhibition life while Alyson’s will evoke something far more formless and unsettling. I think my work sits in-between. Depending on curatorial juxtapositions, some of my work may seem more alive, in others more dead. It’s in the overall resulting narrative that intrigues me most, something we individually couldn’t generate alone: a gestalt. I can’t wait!
AH: I really don’t know what to expect or what truths will be revealed. I always go to see a show with the hope of seeing something new, to see what others are up to, or what I can borrow. I like to come away from a show thinking ‘How did they do that?
MM: For me first of all it will be about the encounter of different media, different languages. We share concerns, seem to enjoy probing matters of the unconscious, but our processes of engagement, of exploration, of making visible what is dimly felt are excitingly various. My work is more directly physical in that I create or manipulate objects while Aly Helyer and Tom Butler create or manipulate images. But we all use the physical as an entry-point into the psyche. I guess one could say that we try to make concrete what is unspoken, unacknowledged, and we don’t shrink from looking at abjection… I can’t wait to hear the conversations between our pieces. The question is: will there be whispers? Songs? Shrieks?
|The Lesson © Tom Butler|
|The Diligent Mother, 2010 ©|
|Changeling, 2010 © Marion Michell|
|Eye-rhyme, 1998 © Marion Michell|
|The Bird catcher © Alyson Heyler|
|Farlin © Tom Butler|
|Hardy © Tom Butler|
|We were wicked, we were wild, 2011, two viscose embroidery threads and one woollen one, 19 x 29.5 cm and 18.5 x 31 cm © Marion Michell|
For me the question of how we perceive reality, and esp. what we exclude (at our peril) from what we define as the ‘real’ is important. What else is there outside the proper, the allowed, the norm? Unwieldy bodies needing to be controlled, strong emotions needing to be checked? On these terms reality itself is macabre, reality is to be feared. Difference is a threat.
Our bodies are not perfect. We want our bodies mutable, to a degree. The ideals of beauty and eternal youth put immense pressure on us, link imperfect bodies with shame. The de- or maybe re-formed bodies we imagine in this exhibition, with their proliferations (or lack) of hair and limbs and even stranger things slither on the brink of abjection and there attain a kind of imperfect, but very much alive beauty. Look them in the eye!
|"Dear Father..." © Tom Butler|
|Untitled © Tom Butler|
|Portrait of The Art Tit As a Young Man © Alyson Heyler|
CP: How important has the DX Open Submission Competition been to you? And what advice would you give to prospective applicants submitting work to similar competitions?
My advice with open submission competitions - look who’s judging, keep the application simple, consistent and don’t bullshit.
|Tickled with love, 2007 © Marion Michell|
CP: Have you got any forthcoming news to divulge?
AH: The Hackney Wicked Festival in the summer.
MM: I am one of 30 international artists selected for Kaunas Biennial TEXTILE 11: REWIND-PLAY-FORWARD, in Kaunas, Lithuania, this September. The brief was to link one’s work with a text, a narrative, to do with memory, where the personal, the social, the historical interweave. Both text (Pedestal for a legless girl) and work (crocheted series of 7 changelings) will be displayed in the exhibition.
CP: Thankyou very much, Tom, Alyson & Marion!