Four artists working with materials as diverse as fish leather and laxtes present both a literal and conceptual response to the concept of Transfiguration, both drawing on tradition and pioneering processes.
Working with their chosen raw materials and transforming their form into something perceived as more beautiful and sublime, each individual has also delved into more complex ideas around Transfiguration; such as the belief that all things, including humaity, have the ability to evolve and be transfigured whether through time, through external influence or simply the way we choose to view them.
We are also invited to consider the concept of universal connectedness, that all things are interconnected and in relationship with one anotehr in some way. Thus we are prompted to consider how each piece resonates with us.
Through this project each artist has taken their practice, and our apprecation of their skill, to a new level. The outcome is conceptual craft, underpinned by an intellectual rigour from which innovation in material and process follow.
Anita Carnell: Hand-stitched leather wall mounted panels
Carnell specialises in meticulously worked leather wall coverings, combining hand stitched gilded wyre or thread and brushwork. Drawing on the tradition of Spanish leather wall panels and inspired by the consideration of space and form in Japanese art, she exercises restraint in realising abstract explorations of the human relationship with time, choice and chance, and symbiotic connections in the world, allowing the viewers contemplative imagination to take root.
Kari Furre: Fish leather and metalwork objects
Furre draws close to her Norwegian roots, preserving the lesser known tradition of tanning fish skin to make leather. A painstaking process, she moulds, stitches and combines it with metalwork to create one of a kind pieces revealing the delicate patterns of the natural world. Also a wild swimmer with a deep love and respect of the sea, she conveys its ancient character, bringing to the surface the mysterious beauty of its life, demonstrating the mutability of its fish species, transfigured to promote the importance of the marine world through exquisite and honest forms that take on a reverential quality and treasure-like status.
Tom Palmer: Advanced Materials
Palmer takes a fearless and experimental approach to material, pioneering processes and working with them during development in such a way that they are on the very edge of success or failure.
He has approached the concept of transfiguration through the conceit of an imagined indigenous societies with their own belief systems and art forms, imagining how they might interpret contemporary communication technology. The viewer is left to query the provenance of these pieces, were they traded, excavated or looted? Is this society from the old world or new? Either way, this society’s use of advanced materials demonstrates a level of sophistication that shows that these pieces are relatively contemporary, even suggesting the uncomfortable idea that they could be the relics of a society now disappeared.
Together the pieces all suggest some form of ritual use or meaning and reference: Bronze Age Bactrian idols, the architecture of Gaudi, the photographs of Karl Blossfeldt, the sound sculptures of Harry Bertoia, and contemporary communication technology.
Joel Parkes: sculptor
Parkes explores transfiguration in the context of nature and life, in particular notions of mutability. Working with wood he enhances the marks of time in his material; shaping, burning and introducing materials such as pewter, precious metals and minerals to highlight the individual characteristics and narrative within each piece.
The installation consists of three principle sculptures, Ecdysis, Eclosion and Anthesis, complemented by ancillary illustrative objects. The vessel, created from the same oak tree, is expressed in three key stages of its life cycle, a notion mutable with the development of artistic expression.
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