Investigating the life of things across space and time

The Quarries: Drag, Fold and Mantle (2016)

Drag (2016)
photograph of polaroid; dimensions variable
Fold (2016)
photograph of polaroid; dimensions variable
Mantle (2016)
photograph of polaroid; dimensions variable

The Quarries (2016): Drag, Fold and Mantle

Gallery of Drag, Fold and Mantle in isolation and studio documentation

The story behind The Quarries

In 2016 I did not have a studio and was working towards a solo show at Brocket Gallery, London. In the months running up to the installation I was invited into the studio of artists Jessica Harby and Luke Harby for what is now known as The Harby Residency.

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

Cleave: a black smooth board sits behind a blacker abstract shape with a red cloaked figure standing on a rock

Cleave (2016)

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).

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Mantle: neon green background with a figure standing, a black cloth thrown over their head and body, with sky blue hose and black shoes. A strong black shadow extends from the feet out to the bottom edge of the image

Mantle (2016)

As if standing in front of a green screen this mysterious figure invites us to imagine a space in which anything is possible.

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Quarry art work: a dark subterranean space is populated by absurd and strange creatures that flit in and behind the pillars that hold up the vaulted ceiling

Quarry (2016)

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.

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Query: Raised pale embroidery like old scars on a pale linen, with fragments of tapestry and collage strewn across the whole canvas

Query (2016)

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.

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Salt: Lines and patches of embroidery against a pale brown linen background, reminiscent of a set of ruins in a destroyed landscape. A figure with a beak as big as its body and that covers its face entirely, tentatively steps across the ground.

Salt (2016)

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.

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Silk: an embroidered image of bright autumn trees in yellow and orange sits against a black linen background, with tree silhouettes behind

Silk (2016)

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.

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Slip: Against a fluorescent orange backdrop, a painted figure with blue hose and a dark green tunic falls headlong into a black hole

Slip (2016)

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.

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Trace: two sets of arches, one in a pale sandy stone with overgrown ivy and the other, identical in outline but a flat black silhouette, sitting on a mid-grey linen canvas. The outlines of three greyhounds are stitched in white thread, leaping through the arches

Trace (2016)

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.

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When much had been forgotten: fragments of tapestry, collage and embroidery in the shape of statues and organic forms are scattered across a pale grey-brown linen

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.

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A walk in the woods: a blue-legged figure with a dark cloth over their head and body stands against a brick wall with plants growing round it

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.

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PACK: A person in a blue hoodie on a bicycle looks behind them to see hundreds of dogs chasing them through a wide, empty city street

PACK

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.

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Cold dish: Against a black background, two white gloved hands appear to be strangling an invisible object

Cold Dish

Dispatch by decapitation:
A heavy-spined knife
to sever her neck,
slit open her belly, belly.
Remove the guts quickly
and set aside her head,
fins swimming back to the sea;
mouth gasping, gasping.

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Against a white background, two hands make the British Sign Language letter K. Wetware, Rattle And Heddle

Wetware, Rattle And Heddle

“And this is the sign for asleep,” says Alison, closing her index fingers and thumbs together in front of her eyes. “Go to sleep now my darling.”
She smooths out the duvet cover with her hands, uncreasing the printed astronaut suit, flattening the stars in their cotton void, repositioning the blue Earth from sliding off the side of the bed. She kisses Bill’s hair, feeling his fragile skull millimetres away from her lips. “Night night.”
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