Rachael Bennett and Kate Paxman
Curator: Steve Brown
Dartington Space Gallery Friday October 4 2019 to Wednesday January 8 2020
An exhibition about the liminal moment, observation, and the unknowable.
Kate Paxman is an artist, researcher and educator at Plymouth University where she is also undertaking a practice-based PhD with the School of Art, Design and Architecture. She has been commissioned by Activate Arts, National Trust and Craftspace among others and has received Arts Council funding for numerous projects. Kate is also co-founder of Smooth Space, an artist-led collective and peer support network which has initiated residencies in public places in partnership with a number of organisations nationally.
Of this work Kate says:
I am an artist who works with sound, film, animation and drawing to build speculative narratives to engage with the unknowable and to notice, for as author Mary Louise Pratt says, “noticing attunes us to worlds otherwise”. The unknowable here suggests concepts impossible for us to comprehend, such as the vast expanses of time involved in evolutionary processes, and the accelerated timescales caused by unprecedented human disturbance of the earth’s ecosystems.
I am currently creating artworks addressing human presence in fragile habitats, and researching littoral zone (partially submerged) marine caves around the South West. Sea caves are dynamic environments now facing accelerated risk of destruction from increasingly frequent extreme weather events. I collect field recordings and film in sites whose vulnerability makes me uncomfortably aware of being the problem – my discomfort arises from privileging my observations and entering where all other than human entities (plants, animals and things) are made vulnerable by my actions.
image: Diaspid 02 (still from video)
Rachael Bennett was born in 1956 in Hampshire and attended Winchester School of Art. After completing her first degree at Liverpool University she moved to London at the age of 22 where she ran a successful textile design business and for the next 20 years sold designs and worked to commission internationally, mainly in the home furnishing market, working in London and then Devon. During these years she was asked to contribute to the teaching programmes of several universities. She decided to stop designing in order to develop her personal work, and now exhibits regularly and has representation in several galleries in the South West.
Of the work in this exhibition Rachael says:
I am interested in liminal space and I see my paintings as an environment allowing personal thought, connections and the ability for the viewer to make their own interpretation.
My process is unconventional, using collaging, printing, dying and painting, with waiting time to allow the alchemy of method and materials to evolve.
Although my intention and concept are very clear to me, the making is often uncomfortable and meandering as I layer, strip down, wash and rebuild until I reach my conceived outcome – that moment does eventually appear and is unmistakable.
image: Land and Sea No 11