Including a range of text works, images, built, carved and cast forms in daub, soap, zinc and tempera, the works debuted at The Residence Gallery endeavour to re-historicise and re-fictionalise the biographical record of Cynethryth, eighth-century Queen of the Mercians. The creation of these works has been attempted to aggressively unearth elements of Cynethryth’s life otherwise unrevealed or actively obscured by traditional historical discourse.
The final addition to the exhibition acknowledges the non-canonical role that popular song can assume in smuggling narrative and temporal specificity beneath the centuries. Taking a range of early English folk songs as their starting point and extrapolating backwards Gent, Sheaf+Barley have ‘discovered’ an episode of Cynethryth’s life previously unknown, passed down through time, protected from orthodox revisionism via regional folk song.
The performance will be preceded by a conversation between Gent and Sheaf+Barley around the themes of the exhibition and the process that led to the collaboration followed by a brief Q&A.
Carl Gent is an artist, musician and writer from Bexhill-on-sea, UK. He received his MFA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths College in 2015. Working across installation, text, performance and print, Gent combines texturally allergic and incompatible materials in an aim to erode the associative histories embedded within them. Explicitly ecological; liberation from material anthropocentricism is attempted. carlgent.com
Sheaf+Barley are cunning folk, which means that they go around performing charms, making things, drawing symbols and reading signs for people who need it. They think belief is a radical act, and, that to interrupt hegemony we must be in a constant state of uprising. Everybody can be cunning folk. sheafandbarley.co.uk
The conversations that led to this collaboration begun between Gent and Barley while they were assembling a supermarket order at the Study Week devised by Jesse Darling at Wysing Arts Centre.