WEAR & TEAR: SOMETHING BORROWED @ ARTHOUSE1

EXHIBITION 

The personal is powerfully present in the works curated for this show featuring 11 female artists working with found objects (each work a form of rescue), memory and identity the currency pulsing through the material. Particularly intrinsic to the ethos of borrowing is the idea that most likely something will be given back in kind-it is not an act of solely taking. Intention is generous, open and appreciative. Whether using objects from their personal archives or appropriating from available sources (thrift shops, the internet, nature), the artists create resonant and haunting inquiries into the spaces linking the individual to the mythic. Ruth Franklin’s The Salon and Memories of Manya seek to reclaim the very souls of her family members through the use of items both domestic and industrial that figuratively suggest their essence, enshrining them for history (facets of detail place the pieces in a distinctive era); 
Mindy Lee’s Repeat Prescriptions Series is an array of personal prescription forms generated by her doctor aligned in a vitrine onto which she has intricately scrawled (in biro!) beautifully wrought drawings that recall both the works of Great Masters and graphic medical textbook examples of anatomy-some of the paper has started to curl with age and decay, meditating on queasy issues around the body, health and mortality; Hannah Honeywill’s Scar, with a suture of delicate red thread, salvages a slab of mighty, stately elm (already a chronicle of history with its rings) from a savage and potentially devastating break; Lisa Snook’s Time is but a memory and Desire is where it Dreams (a weathered oval mirror with long, withered strands of hair hanging dejectedly from the frame) and I Dream of Flying, the title of which is elaborately and painstakingly embroidered onto a cotton pillow with threaded hair, a hush of feathers gathered on the floor from a broken seam, speak of anxiety and disquiet (triggered by age and decline) around the nexus of appearance and sleep (with its twin energies of both rejuvenation and death); Kate Murdoch’s All That Is Left is a requiem for her grandmother, an old cosmetics cabinet found long discarded with a few contents still inside-a bar of soap, a few powder puffs-that stands in poignant memoriam to her relative, once a vessel of vital use full of agents of enhancement and balm now moribund and frail; Susan Francis’s Vicarious Beth constructs, from numerous thumbnail images taken from a profile page off the internet, a roadmap of a life across one wall of the gallery-the route is non-linear, branching off on detours and tributaries, much like life itself, coaxing out the monumentality of a single life from the confines of digital space. There are a few works which balance the serious with felicity, most memorably Murdoch’s The Borrower’s Revolt, which finds a formation of corseted brass figurine “belles” marching from the recesses of one of the room’s fireplaces and Sarah Gillham’s Castoffs, a group of porcelain dolls that morph into twisted elongated bases (or in some cases stunted bases), alienlike, of which H.R. Giger would deeply approve-they manage to be playful and unnerving simultaneously. Murdoch’s Borrow A Cup of Sugar takes the aesthetic to its interactive extreme, encouraging viewers to depart with a vintage china cup full of sugar cubes and return later to the gallery (please, before the close of the show!) with an item of value to exchange. All of the objects on display are charged with meanings and history long in play before their appearance at the space, the artists honouring and ennobling them as fragile repositories of emotional, physical and psychological experience, refashioning them into items that can tell new stories and carry fresh incarnations and inflections. On 30 September, the gallery is hosting a conversation with the collective artists from 4-6PM.

http://www.arthouse1.co.uk/something-borrowed.html

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