Emma McNally - Fields, Charts, Soundings

24 Jan 2008 – 2 Mar 2008


London, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Aldgate Bus Station 2 mins walk
  • Aldgate East
  • 4 mins walk from Liverpool Street Station

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'(tracing) additional courses over spaces that
before were blank/..threading a maze of currents
and eddies..'(Melville)

the range of any series of actions or energies,
region of space in which forces are at work: the
locality of a battle: the battle itself: a wide
expanse: the area visible to an observer at one time:
a system or collection.

a marine or hydrographical map exhibiting part of the
sea or other water with the islands, contiguous
coasts, soundings, currents etc: an outline map, curve,
or a tabular statement giving information of
any kind.

to measure the depth of; to probe: to try to discover
the inclinations, thoughts etc. to take soundings:
to dive deep, as a whale.

In Emma McNally's work dense layers of carbon* on
paper create fields which offer themselves up to
meaning: planes, vectors, topoi are overlaid, or
coexist with swarms, shoals, marks laid out in
rhythmic sequence.

The effect is of a continuous flux formed by a
congruence of information systems: neural networks,
contagion maps, sonar soundings, weather systems,
water currents, charts plotting the migratory habits
of deep-ocean mammals.

Focusing on rhythm as an expression of the dynamic
of forming/unforming, McNally thinks this through
graphically by highly charged percussive mark-making.
Lines carry force, like the pulse of an ECG or a
measure of seismic activity.

Ways in which the 'matter' or 'noise' of charged
marks (unclaimed by frequencies or channels) combine,
disperse and recombine into gatherings of static are
explored. Passage is forged between differing
rhythmic expressions: highly regularised, geometric
systems of marks enter into configurations with
chaotic swarms and fugitive marks.

Regularised, centralising and defining forces are
disrupted, subverted and deterritorialised. The
nomadic and fugitive are subject to forces that
capture and formalise. Monolithic and viral tendencies
mutually infiltrate.

Overall the attempt is made to maintain a state of
flow, of passage between these forces where both are
in danger of overrunning but are constantly overthrown
- with the resulting mutations and proliferations
played out.

*'carbon' (pronounced /'karben/) is a chemical element with the symbol C. It is a nonmetallic, tetravalent element that presents several allotropic forms of which the best known ones are graphite, diamond, and amorphous carbon. Carbon is one of the few elements known to man since antiquity. The name "carbon" comes from Latin language carbo, coal, and in some Romance languages, the word carbon can refer both to the element and to coal. It is the 4th most abundant element in the universe by mass after hydrogen, helium, and oxygen. It is ubiquitous in all known life forms, and in the human body it is the second most abundant element by mass (about 18.5%) after oxygen. This abundance, together with the unique diversity of organic compounds and their unusual polymer-forming ability at the temperatures commonly encountered on Earth, make this element the chemical basis of all known life (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon).

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