The Dream and the Underworld
work by Jim Carter and Lucy Kerr
9 to 27 March
Reception: Friday March 10 17.00 to 19.00
There is a fragility in this work, an other-worldness speaking to us from we don’t quite know where. But it is not all fragile. Jim Carter’s work is deeply animal and yet deeply human in its passions and propensities. We gain a new understanding of his work by looking at the materials from which it is made: skin, bones, seeds, soil, ash, string. It becomes redolent of, if not death, then other-life. A place we intrinsically know from the work without perhaps understanding why.
Lucy’s work tells stories of ghosts, lives past or in-between, and magical kingdoms conjured from nothing but tin foil, paper and plastic. The intricate nature of her exquisite drawings hold the gaze powerfully, their white ink coming to us, again, from beyond some kind of divide.
Both artists’ work is dreamlike. Not always perhaps the kind of dreams we like to have; they tell tales of other lives and unknown dimensions. We are told stories we can’t quite grasp.
Richard Povall (Curator)
Read a review of this work by Prof. Penny Florence
Based in Cornwall, Jim Carter received an MA with distinction in Art and Environment from Falmouth University. With a practice grounded in seasonal cycles of destruction and renewal, his sculpture and writing is concerned with myth and transformation in animals and landscape. A member of the Newlyn Society of Artists, his work has appeared in Unpsychology and Earthlines magazine.
The artist says:
I like to tell animal stories through words and sculpture. More often than not, they are about English wildlife and a sense of its power and vulnerability in relation to humankind. Often uneasy or tragic, irrational or obscure, I try to convey stories linked to my experience of a real world of suffering and transcendence: making sculpture from organic materials as a means of advocacy, atonement or commemoration; shifting to the written word as a way to enter emotional and numinous spaces of memory and dream.
The work in ‘The Dream and the Underworld’ crystallises a number of experiences I have had in the landscape of West Penwith in Cornwall, especially encounters with the fox, an animal that this work crowns as the king of the underworld. I have tried to be honest in negotiating the complex experiences that arise in relation to animal life: there is anger, fear, sorrow, death, but also hope, transformation and renewal, with the central theme of this work being to mark the vernal equinox, finding a way out of the Winter underworld into Spring.
Lucy Kerr: Skeleton Spores 2 (detail)
As a mixed media practitioner living and working in St Germans, Cornwall, Lucy Kerr creates artistic illusions in various forms. They are a response to a meditative dislocation from our perception of the everyday. With a BA in Fine Art from The Birmingham Institute of Art and Design and an MA in Authorial Illustration from Falmouth University, her work has appeared in Dark Mountain, the London Underground and Atlantic Press Books.
About this work, she says:
I explore inner and outer landscapes through a meditative process; the work that emerges is unplanned and serves as a physical record of a journey into the underworld. Having experienced hallucinatory dreams, I am interested in the ability of the mind to lose its sense of the familiar. When we see through the eyes of a dream, the everyday becomes new. I try to approach the process of making from this location. Household materials lose their predisposed purpose and become shape shifting, illusionary aides. The dream worlds we partially occupy lend the notion that we can comfortably live in another dimension; we can easily change our sense of reality.
30 March to 18 April
work by Clare Bryden and Liz McGowan
Reception: Friday March 31, 17.00 to 19.00 (more information)
Clare Bryden is a visual artist based in Exeter. Her interests are primarily in how human beings affect and are affected by the natural world of which we are part, and the related theology and psychology of connectedness. Her creative practice springs from her desire to communicate environmental and social issues, her need for hope and energy in keeping on keeping on, and her habit of making connections and finding patterns.
About this work, Clare says:
The view from above has become normalised. Google Maps and OS Maps, city centre plans and ‘you are here’ stickers on the boards at local nature reserves, give the impression of omniscience and omnipotence. The very notion of ‘flood risk’ calls both our knowledge and power into question in the face of uncertainty and the force of nature. What seems to be the most solid and robust is in reality the most fragile and vulnerable. “Green|Blue” is about changing the perspective, looking slant, and embracing a new understanding and humility.
Liz McGowan has worked for 25 years as an environmental artist, inspired by the detail, pattern and processes of the East Anglian Landscape. She works with the stuff of landscape – earth, pebble, berry, reed, wind, tideline – collecting, sorting, playing and transforming materials into forms that reflect themes of growth, decay and renewal. Liz has exhibited widely in East Anglia, including Norwich Castle Museum and Kings Lynn Arts Centre; she has carried out residencies on the Norfolk Broads, RSPB Minsmere, the Peddars Way National Trail and Welney Wildfowl Trust and commissions for Bury St Edmunds Art Gallery and the National Trust/Climate Coalition.
This body of work arises out of a question I posed to myself when, 6 years ago, I moved out of town to a 3 acre small holding: was it possible to make work about these 3 acres? Owls are a powerful presence here and at the same time their numbers are falling, so we try to manage the land for the habitats and creatures that nourish them. This work, mainly graphite on paper, uses the tiny mammal bones from owl pellets found here which are impressed into the paper in patterns that recall: eye, penumbra, moon, egg. Will-a-wix is a local name for a barn owl.
How to find us
Find your way to Dartington Hall
Park in the main car park (there is a small charge). Then walk DOWN the hill until you see the large blue sign for SPACE. Walk towards the buildings at the end and find us upstairs. There are signs in main reception directing you to the gallery.
If you have a blue badge, there are three parking bays available outside SPACE. They are quite often in use, so if you’d like us to reserve one for you please ring us on 07968 208583, or email us. Although the gallery is on the first floor, the building is fully wheelchair accessible.