The Quarries (2016): Drag, Fold and Mantle
Gallery of Drag, Fold and Mantle in isolation and studio documentation
The story behind The Quarries
Mostly Jessica Harby and I listened to podcasts whilst drawing. Sometimes Jessica would turn to the film she was editing on her computer. Jessica’s work is breathtaking and she is a very special artist to spend time with. She is also one of the funniest people I know, especially in her darkest hours. Being verbally hilarious whilst being bodily terrified is a trait that is often misunderstood. Her work speaks volumes about this push-and-pull, squishing the delicate, the brutal, the absurd and the serious into delicious art sandwiches.
One day, after all my drawings felt like failures and I had given myself a break to just collage some creatures together, Luke Harby joined us in the studio.
Luke is an artist who uses film photography and at that time was working on a medium format series with a 3D printed model of the moon. My creatures wandered over to see what was happening and a spontaneous collaboration came to life. I cut up an old plastic bottle to stand my collages against and Luke photographed them using polaroid film.
We were both really happy with the results and one was later exhibited in Roid Rage, a Humble Art Foundation show.
I didn’t exhibit these works in Quarry at the Brocket Gallery, London in 2016 but I have a soft spot for them and wanted to give Drag, Fold and Mantle their own little corner of the world online.
More works from Quarry
As if peering through a gap in the trees this art work focuses on the relationship between light and dark, quarry and hunter. The colour and form of the red figure references Uccello’s practice within the late Gothic tradition and reminds us that red is the colour of fairytales, representing blood (virginity, violence, death).
As if standing in front of a green screen this mysterious figure invites us to imagine a space in which anything is possible.
Like Paolo Uccello’s Hunt in the Forest (1470), Quarry came into existence from dark to light. Uccello’s technique created a theatrical depth and drama that I wanted to capture.
In Paolo Uccello’s preparation of his wood panels for Hunt in the Forest (1470), he glued canvas over knots and scored lines into a black underlayer of paint to mark tree branches and vanishing points.
Salt is mined, extracted and evaporated. Stitching mends holes, fills in blank space. This artwork began life as the back of an unfinished needlepoint and grew into an exploration of geology and archeology.
This work started as an old needlepoint completed by an unknown sewer, that I unpicked, leaving only these trees intact. It was a way for me to look at the stage without the players.
Falling is an uncontrollable action. When we fall (over, apart, in love, asleep) we become vulnerable; quarry. Caught between spaces this figure falls headfirst and downwards.
I wanted to create a work that used just a few very strong elements to show the power of a repeated shape. I drew this grid over Uccello’s painting to reveal his mastery of perspective and as the starting point for Trace.
When much had been forgotten (2016)
The relics and ghosts of long ago are brought together here as if in a wild dream of nature. Starting from the verticals of Uccello’s trees and dotted lines he cut into the wood I wanted to present a landscape of fragments that offers a framework for a narrative.
A walk in the woods (2016)
This conversation between Sarah Gillett and the writer Amy Lay-Pettifer digs deeper into the artist’s relationship with Paolo Uccello’s painting The Hunt in the Forest (1470) and her wider art practice.
The dogs in south London are running. One of the big ones slows down as it passes me and I step back as its nose swerves into my crotch, waving my arms as though that would make any difference. If it were really hungry it would just eat me but I get a face full of hot meaty air and it’s a lucky day.
I think you might like...
The crowd watches as she walks forward and unthreads a pale rose. Its thornless stem, shaven into meek concave depressions, fits her fingers.
Meteorites on holiday, visiting popular destinations on Earth including Rome and Athens. photographed with permission by Sarah Gillett.
Not only; but also (2021)
Inspired by the lives of women at Rockingham Castle and their resonance in history, literature and spirituality, this web-based artwork takes the form of a sleeping ghostly female figure and explores an interior world where memory, dreams and shadows reign.
Stars Fell on Alabama (2016)
Story show exploring personal beliefs, scientific theories and societal reactions to meteorite falls and other inexplicable impacts.