Distance and closeness. An arm's reach apart. At least. A breath apart. Minimum. People come together and people move apart. Bumper cars with a no-bumping rule.
This show brings together a collection of people. A collision of people.
The second group from the g39 Fellowship programme - Becca+Clare, Freya Dooley, Rebecca Gould, Rhiannon Lowe, Will Roberts, Neasa Terry - present a collection of new projects, ideas and proposals for works. Some of them have been intermittently based at g39 during the last year as we have navigated different circumstances together. The show is a mixture of live work, work completed over the last two years and projects that were paused through these extraordinary times.
Days passed and the disconnected weeks seemed to repeat. Things that happened last year feel simultaneously close to us and distant. Long term and short term memories feel compressed, crashing together in the face of uncertainty. Planning for anything felt futile as those plans got re-drafted and re-written again and again. We seem to have no time as well as an excess of it, but no structures to hold it. Zoom crashes the distances between us, the gaps between things. Idling. It runs out and around us. Things take longer and any sense of routine is still fluid.
The show is not, thankfully, about these extraordinary times. It is framed by them, changed by them but not separate or apart. Some of the artists have spent time working from home. Homes that become strange villages where different activities have to co-exist with life and work and change.
Will Roberts’ paintings hang in relation to living spaces, homes. The painting behind the door that we were given. What hangs above a fireplace. One space mapped on another. He sometimes feels he is looking at himself in the third person, as all the central characters. He ponders craftsmanship, the amateur, memory and the expression of our personalities through the display of art objects that adorn our homes.
Rebecca Gould’s practice ranges from assemblage, video and textiles. She deals with concepts of labour, capital and daily rituals - a bedsheet becomes a painting, but is still a sheet. The sense of history of the object, by uprooting it from the proper place in time, removes it from its origins; history evaporates and condenses into another - modifying the value of the object by a ritualistic methodology of time, place and memory.
Freya Dooley’s work is concerned with the voice: literal, characterised, live, recorded, spoken, muted, muttered, sung, out-of-sync. Often rooted in close-range observations and environments, her layered narratives and soundtracks expand outwards in scale, navigating their way through divergent subjects. She’s interested in leaky thoughts, shared spaces, broken structures, precarious plotlines, forms of entertainment and attempts at connection.
Rhiannon’s work explores her trans identity and community, along with wider issues of exclusion, sensationalised media attention and inequality. Using sound, multimedia installation, text, textile, drawing, print and ephemera, she traces her past to find clues as to where she now finds herself. Rhiannon’s recent project Cekca Het: Trans Panic combines her never-ending desire to be in a pop/noise band with the struggle and delight of negotiating her gender.
An expanded metaphor of notation runs throughout Neasa Terry’s work, whether the simple act of ‘noting down’, or something more melodic and musical. Terry notates as gesture – a series of markings and mark-makings to track and organise thoughts. Over time they stratify and accumulate, these scraps of thought forming a kind of archive. Terry’s work resides in the imperceptible spaces between intention, reception and intuition. It’s all connected; you might just not hear the melody at first.
Becca+Clare work together and with communities, to make things happen. They work with people through hosting, events and happenings, through social contact. They have both worked to find a way of bridging this fracture in different ways over the last year. How do digital exchanges mirror or echo the personal interactions we have. If everything is scheduled, timed, how do you allow for accident, chit-chat or play?
We have developed new narratives over the last two years; deeper lines have been scored in the sand between those who are looking for change and those who need, want, hunger for normal. But there is a determination in those that want change. An optimism. The universal re-start of everything is hurried along by those that want to get back to where they were. Re-invention takes energy, thinking and an effort to push away as the demands for business as usual begin.
This is no time to plan an ending.