23.02 – 31.03.19
Curated by David Dale Gallery, photos by Max Slaven
Elastane, Max Slaven
The voice that ________, Whispers, press “ On. ’’1
Linear and non-linear materials react in different ways to stress and strain.2 The latter possesses elastomeric properties, meaning that instead of fracturing under pressure they instead give, offering a resistance yet accommodating and subsuming the stress applied. Architectural space, often a mixture of linear and non-linear materials is multiplied by non-linear time to reveal a pliability of its own. The surfaces within a space, through their materiality and complexity offer an indication towards their elasticity, how receptive they will be to a little pressure, if they will absorb or resist new objects being brought in. The space is also a receptacle for non-linear time, that the surfaces and objects of the space contain and manifest the entirety of their histories at once. A room is simultaneously all of its times. The room which The Workbench inhabits was once flexible I imagine. However, as objects were added it became more taught. The floor, a patterned concrete relief, designed to minimize the travel of small dropped objects, created a possessive nature. The unyielding discomfort of the floor a reminder that objects are not to possess their own agency – they can leave when permission is granted. The addition of the benches tightened the space, until it was reified, the space becoming known only by the descriptions of the benches. Further additions appear rejected, for example the more recent suspended lighting tray or fire extinguisher. These permanent additions lose a little of their conflict over time, so as not to appear unduly jarring, just at odds. Whereas, temporary objects, necessitated by the space’s current use as a contemporary art gallery, have a tougher time. They either ricochet off, or are enveloped entirely, depending on their own structural properties. Within such a loaded space, under the weight of matter and time, new objects can only work with the space, in a subjugated role, or against in opposition. Lauren Gault’s exhibition, O-n, approaches this space with both these positions in tandem. And it is an approach characterized by contrasting fluidity and rigidity. Qualitative change and reenchantment.
The benches have undergone a qualitative change. They are no longer the benches, they are the benches with an elastane covering. The fitted covering averages the benches positive and negative space, reducing their potency within the room and introducing an elasticity to them, physically as well as their capacity to accept objects within an abstract sense. Reduced to topological surface, the benches now yield to new objects. A large glass piece sits at one end, it’s fixed fluidity a manifestation of glass’s phase transition. Its current rigidity just a step in its capacity to return to liquid or graduate to dispersal. The point at which it punctures the surface tension of the elastane redolent of diagrams of space time 3 curvature. Re-enchantment is the re-appraisal of objects. Developing an object through thought, so that it might gain an additional use or purpose. The added lighting tray is an example of this. The tray which mirrors in part its ceiling hung counterpart, creates new purposes for the length of galvanized steel. While leading a visitor around the space, the object demarcates the volume of the room. Through drawing attention to an unsuccessful incursion to the space, it seems to hypothesise that the problem is we just need a bit more of it.
The object uses the material of the space to increase that elasticity a little more. The title of the exhibition O-n, uses the obtuse (to the uninitiated, which I count myself within) language of mathematics to suggest some of what I have mentioned here, and some which I haven’t. The title itself though is ephemeral, escaping from a distinct definition, it seems to possess a quality of phase change itself. It satisfies a number of interpretations, to an extent, but definitions slip away as soon as they have arrived. To articulate one of these possibilities in support of what is mentioned above, I’ll offer an option. The O- comes from big O notation a mathematical notation introduced by Paul Bachmann in 1894, originally standing for ordnung in German – or order of in English. The n stands for the number of dimensions of a given space or time. So, the order of a number of dimensions of space and time
1. ON., Maeve Carrig (date unknown, circa 1906) 2. Materials list: Sati Italia S5 cable tray, raw wool, carved shells (part dissolved), elastane, welded PVC, water, blown glass, LED lights, miniature model coal, miniature model fireplaces, silica eaten strawberry coated in silicon rubber, steel, PET ribcage mould, cast iron pestle. 3. Diagram taken from First Principles. A manifesto of the vortex theory of creation discovered by M. Craig, etc., Martha Craig, 1906
Lauren Gault & Sarah Rose
Fri 20 April – Mon 7 May, 2018, photos Ruth Clark
The exhibition title sequins refers to a gold coin minted by the Republic of Venice. Used within trade for a period spanning over 500 years no other design was produced over such a long period. In later centuries, this type of coin was stitched to women’s clothing and headdresses. In contemporary terms, sequins are thin, plastic, shiny discs applied to surface areas to direct attention and reflect a primary light.
sequins is a collaborative, research-led intervention, taking place across two carefully considered sites chosen along the Glasgow Canal and facing towards the motorway. Together both artists have approached and interrogated this body of water both as a surface and material. Taking the physical objects and materials found in and historically adopted by the Canal, the artists explore how this detritus can be communicative of seemingly intangible or impossible encounters with other systems, times, geographies or physicalities. Exploring the process of sedimentation, erosion and accretion, the sculptures will exist in flux with their new environment, never settling, dispersing and rising, ever changing in their material state.
In the exhibition sequins, the works are intended to be durational. At the kidney basin, the works are immersed and the ability to view them changes according to the environmental conditions. Some of the artworks and imprints can be seen, and then moments later they are obscured by a change in current or clouds passing. The horse collars have been reupholstered with soft wool to be used by birds to build their nest. Over time the collars form and intention (to protect the horse while pulling the canal boats) will be repurposed and given over to the ecological interactions performed by another animal. Through these processes, Gault and Rose have reconsidered how these objects can observe and communicate the embedded histories of a location’s events and experiences. The sculptural interventions created by the artists become reproductions made by a plurality of subjects across time, retaining the particular tensions arising from the contingent materials.
Through their discoveries they are considering how matter and objects may recommunicate or perform their environment. Also through this process of working across these unique sites, Gault and Rose are opening discussions around the socio-political and ethical implications of our contemporary interactions with matter/objects, and our relationship to the water as a physical volume or bodily encounter.
Swan Island: Island made from a build-up of canal dredge and debris, 2 x reupholstered horse collars (hand-felted), reflective lunge line, synthetic mane, glow-in-the dark tent pegs, spray paint, clay, Vaseline.
Kidney Basin: 37 pressed aluminium works (including metal pressed imprints – clothes, samurai sword, cinnamon, pimento, fishing lures, salt, envelopes, oranges, nutmegs, ventilation grill, wall panel, anti-slip surface, car tyre) silicone rubber, basalt, hay whisp, turtle shell, reflective film (used in fishing lures), cinnamon sticks, glass bottle, fake fur, vinyl, ink, glass, recycled plastic wood, rope
Materials and objects found in the Canal (some of which were historically traded) – Illicit love letters, cannonball, Samurai sword, gunpowder, horse hair brush, Codswallop bottles, living turtle. Tobacco, sugar, cinnamon, pimento pepper, coal, Indian corn, nutmegs, indigo.
Supported by Glasgow International, Scottish Canals, Glasgow Sculpture Studios, Lambshill Stables.