Troglodyte Antiphon is a new immersive installation at Intercession Gallery by collaborators Sebastian Thomas and Leah Stewart. Using digitally printed images of stone the artists have transformed the gallery space into a facsimile of a cave through which the public can enter and encounter the works. Working with a range of tactile processes, including plaster sculpture, collage, ceramics, textiles, basketry, silk painting and drawing, slow and fast making combine to create fragments of an imaginary civilisation speaking through the detritus left behind.
The cave is an ancient space, one that is symbolic of seclusion. It is a place to retreat too, where a person can be unacquainted with the affairs of the world. In this age of connectivity, where we have the furthest reaches of the planet at our fingertips, spaces like this are becoming harder and harder to find. In this timeless place, the cave manifests the potential for a future past.
In Thomas’ work it plays host to a cohort of degraded and primitive characters. The exhibition space is occupied by the dismounted gizmos and meandering bodies of his assembled sculptures and paper collages. In relation to the cave the works allude to an alternative landscape, where broken down components of the past and the future collide to form a strange new reality, one that is haunted by the apparition of nature.
The cave is also a sacred space, a hidden interior deep within the earth, symbolic of the womb. This space is used by Stewart as a house for ritual objects of an imagined future, left by a community that holds reverence for nature and craft language at its centre. Using painting and folk techniques of natural dyeing, apothecary and vessel-building, these works and the accompanying short stories act as sightings of this world.
Sebastian Thomas (b. 1986) is an artist whose practice spans printmaking, collage, drawing, sculpture and installation. Central to his work is the processes of collage and assemblage, a strategy that allows Thomas to interrogate the functions of language and how it informs our understanding of the world. Recent shows include The Weather Garden at Towner Gallery, Eastbourne, Wild Service at Kingsgate Project Space, London and The Listener at Three Colt Gallery, London.
Leah Nyssa Stewart (b. 1985) works across painting, textiles, sculpture and print. Craft techniques such as natural dyeing, basketry, ceramics and crochet are used in combination with painting and drawing to make installations exploring animism, ritual and our relationship with the natural environment. Recent exhibitions include Wild Service at Kingsgate Project Space, London, A Casual Texture at Outset Contemporary Arts, London and Your Arms Are Full Of Flowers, My Mouth Is Full Of Stones at Lumberjack, London.