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.
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).
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.
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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“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.”
“Night night Mummy,” he says.