Bureau is pleased to announce 'Fathom', Mary Griffiths' first solo exhibition, featuring new and previously unseen âblack' drawings and a unique, large-scale drawing commission produced onsite, and in response to the gallery environment.
Mary Griffiths makes black drawings from dense layers of graphite on A4 paper, inscribed with architectural notations and spatialities. She makes deliberate and consistent use of A4 paper in her drawing practice (in its less common landscape format) - the plain piece of A4 drawing paper offering its ubiquity, its ordinariness, its immediacy of recognition, and its surface.
With the paper acting as a dark mirror, recalling the tarnished silver of the daguerreotype, an axis of further and closer is added to the two-dimensional co-ordinates of height and width. When approached by the viewer these âstill' drawings become activated, the inscribed lines and mirrored surfaces refusing a single viewpoint, compelling the body and eye to shift.
The images created, scratched into these dark surfaces, owe their existence to Griffiths' pre-occupation with the architectural, although they have no clear, ârecognisable' visual connection, and exist as purely spatial drawings. Some of the architectural references, drawn on by Griffiths hold a personal significance for her, and we see this through the repetition of line and depth created in the drawings; the re-tracing of a well-worn path, the familiar room, inscriptions that map a history, life and resonance of a space, alongside its structure.
Inscribing lines on these graphite covered planes, the incisions cut through the blackness, catch the light and take on, at times, a silvery whiteness, a luminosity born of darkness. The works in 'Fathom' appear to be made by a machine, when in reality they are scratched singly and uniquely over many days with basic hand tools. Mistakes can't be covered up or taken away from these drawings; their lines are always raw, on permanent view.
Mary Griffiths (b. 1965) is based in Manchester, UK, and graduated from MA Fine Art at Manchester School of Art in 2009. Griffiths is also Curator of Modern Art at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, where she has been in post since 2000.
Fathom is Griffiths first solo exhibition, and first time exhibiting with Bureau. Recent exhibitions include: Memory of a Hope, Ceri Hand Gallery, Liverpool; Workhouse, The Hive, Manchester (2011); MA Show, Holden Gallery, Manchester School of Art; This and That, Triple Base Gallery, San Francisco, USA; Four Artists from the Manchester School of Art, FAFA Gallery, Finnish Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki, Finland (2009); Jerwood Drawing Prize 2008, Jerwood Space, London and touring UK (2008-09); The Origins of Nine, Islington Mill, Salford (2008). Her book, Pictures of War, was published by Carcanet in 2009.
Mary Griffiths is represented by Bureau, and her work will feature in the forthcoming edition of the publication Drawing Paper.