Material | Matters – Saul Hay Gallery
Material | Matters, is Saul Hay’s latest exhibition and with nine exhibiting artists there’s a lot to see. The quality of the artists work means that having so much to see is a real bonus. Material | Matters explores the physicality of the artists’ chosen medium, considering our sense of history and the mystical connections we feel to our landscape.
A particular feature for me as an amateur photographer, was the 19th century camera, complete with bellows, not for sale by the way, used by Alyson Barton to produce the haunting set of Wet Plate Collodion images (The “collodion wet plate process”, requires the photographic material to be coated, sensitized, exposed and developed within the span of about fifteen minutes, necessitating a portable darkroom for use in the field. Wikipedia ). My photo, below, can’t do justice to Alyson’s works which need to be seen to get the full impact of the process.
With work currently being exhibited at the Contemporary Masters from Britain exhibition in Yantai, China, Susan Gunn’s work is on the international stage. The works on show at Saul Hay, are ideally suited to the title of Materials |Matter as Susan’s works have the natural cracking element which comes from the very nature of the materials and processes used to produce them and need close examination by the viewer to fully appreciate how the finished article is achieved.
Intricacy and attention to detail bordering on obsessive marks the work of Emma Lloyd. Beautifully constructed, the viewer cannot fail to be in awe of the work involved in their production, or indeed the basis of thought which produced these textual sculptures. Lloyd say she “began exploring ways of distorting and altering the aesthetic form of language; thus displaying the process of translation through visual means”. You can see the results for yourself with a number of her works on the theme of text exhibited.
Shortlisted for the GM Arts Prize and with work installed in Manchester’s Palace Hotel, Tracey Eastham’s intricate gold paper cut outs displayed under bell-shaped glass and are based on “the ancient fable of the Tower of Babel, the aftermath of its collapse, and the subsequent ‘confusion of tongues’ that led mankind to be scattered across the world”.
Using a range of media to produce her works, Jane Fairhurst produces art which has a darker, but humorous side. The work displayed comes from her series entitled ‘Fetishes for Uncertain Times’ and consists of fabrics, buttons, embroidery etc on a metal stand along with acrylic on canvas paintings.
Landscape artist Margaret Cahill is another artist with multi-national exposure and she exhibited a number of Oil and mixed media works. Cahill’s work are atmospheric and to quote from her website “The paintings on canvas are built up slowly using thin layers of oils and varnishes. Photographic images are trapped beneath as if rising to the surface like memories, like photographs finding form in developing solution.
The image with its metaphorical resonance is central to the work encapsulating concerns about the past and present, home and displacement, uncertainty, transience and mortality”
Sculptor Rachel Grimshaw works with clay and alludes to the built environment, without being specific. The stoneware, which is solid, and very heavy, uses heavily grogged clay. (Basically grog is clay, which has been fired then ground up. Grog comes in various particle sizes, from fine to coarse, and helps to reduce shrinkage in the clay when fired). During the process Grimshaw uses everyday objects impressed into the work, giving no more than a suggestion of their origin.
Landscape artist Georgia Noble , work is very much an abstraction of the landscape and asks the viewer to interpret what they see. Lacking formal structure and no horizon, there is a hint of the meta-physical about them, and something I personally, enjoyed immensely. (Use the link to see more of Georgia’s work)
Living in the Pennines, Diana Terry‘s work is highly influenced by her surroundings. Working mainly in oils, but also using gesso and mixed media, Terry’s landscape have a greater textural quality and less abstraction than those of Georgia Noble. They convey the ruggedness and beauty of the Pennine landscape. her Winter scenes almost make you shiver as you enter into the painting!
In addition to the exhibition which runs until 17th September Saul Hay are hosting a conversation evening on the 15th (See below)
Material | Matters & Art Across – in conversation
Material | Matters, the current exhibition at Saul Hay Gallery, explores the physicality of the artists’ chosen medium, considering our sense of history. Join us for a conversation featuring art historian Sara Riccardi, founder of the Art Across project, and six of the exhibiting artists. The artists will be discussing their works and their relation to materials and media, while Sara will take the emerging themes as starting points to explore how this relation has evolved throughout the centuries, in a dynamic investigation of one of the central aspects of the artistic creative process.
Tracey Eastham | Jane Fairhurst | Rachel Grimshaw | Susan Gunn Emma Lloyd | Diana Terry