The exhibition charts the artists’ shared interest in material and imaginative transformation, the relation between absence and presence, and how memory resides in all its complexities within the human frame.
The group of paintings selected for our exhibition Still Life features depictions of clothing and shoes, and mise-en-scenes from my recent ‘Mannequin’ series. The material form of the paintings includes oil and acrylic on canvas, object-paintings and an installation painting.
Shoes have been a recurrent motif in my practice since I began exploring ‘still life’ in the 1980s. Shoes, 2012 presents a single shoe repeated in rows against a grey background. This shoe is defined by two independent yet connected surfaces: the hard black shiny exterior and the soft blue-grey interior. The bright interior spaces of the shoe carve out hollows within the dark surface of the painting, turning the empty shoes into vessels full of light. This imagery keys the emotional dynamic of presence and absence and the physical dynamic of inside and outside, which reverberates throughout all my paintings in the exhibition, and chimes with aspects of Jayne’s work. A number of my paintings feature a female personage suspended in a reciprocation between body and mind, while other works focus on the passing of time - both predominant themes in my practice.
The magnolia tree stands at the centre of my work in this exhibition. I first filmed the flowering magnolia tree, lit at night, in 2002 - this footage is included in my film The Oblique completed this year.The music, Blues in B-flat by Volker Heyn, performed by cellist Anton Lukoszevieze, provides the framework for The Oblique. The title comes from an instruction in the score, ‘oblique down stroke’, a call to the cellist to use an oblique bow. In the film branches of magnolia extend into the empty cavity of the cello, the space where sound resonates. The exploration of film’s relation to music and the search for a ‘music equivalent’ preoccupy me.
The photograms are of magnolia petals and flower buds. I think of them as an inventory. The analogue photographs use magnolia petals in place of a negative. The photograms and photographs, along with a small pile of magnolia braches shot through with mother of pearl, a series of simple stone carvings of bud shapes using soft limestone and alabaster, and objects constructed from instruments parts and horse hair - the hair streams through holes in the instrument parts - are music equivalents. They extend the imagery of my film work out into the world, into physical space.