Drill Hall Gallery – Portland
Easton Lane, DT5 1BW
31 March – 29 April 2018
Wednesday – Sunday 11am – 4pm
PV Saturday 31 March 6-8pm
In moving to the Drill Hall Gallery, ‘Uncommon or Garden’ an exhibition first shown in the Hastings Observer Building, has changed form and atmosphere.
The focus has shifted from the abundance of nature to depictions of its fragility and uncertainty.
‘Uncommon Or Garden – Offshoot’ draws together a handful of artists who understand and respond to change as a part of life, who take little for granted and welcome the unexpected.
Katya de Grunwald explores the demise of one of Britain’s great manufacturing industries. In her series of images of moulds from the historic Spode ceramics factory she reflects on the wider transformation and fragility of community.
Yiorgos Nikiteas uses the symbolism of plants and objects to create a personal language with which he addresses memory.
Jim Cooke continues this autobiographical tendency and confronts loss in the carefully documented annual growing and harvesting of his father’s garlic.
Andrew Hinton also collects materials from his surroundings to evoke childhood memories of sickness and of fantasy.
Collectively these bodies of work resonate with a shared sense of loss.
Each artist expresses their own fragility through their connection to the delicacy of plants, be they real, imagined or impressed in clay.
Katya de Grunwald makes delicate imagery of resonant objects from her own history and from the history of others. The photographs Made in Spode are intimate responses to the physical evidence of a former industry.
Spode was one of the most important potteries in Stoke-on-Trent in the Midlands. For over 200 years it was the ceramics capital of the world.
I found myself in a room full of thousands of plaster moulds that were balanced precariously on rickety shelves disappearing upwards into the shadowy rafters. I was drawn to making pictures that would bear testament to the industry that was once here.
Shaping this photographic work is an interest in the psychologically charged associations of the overlooked object and traces of the human imprint as the weight of dust has settled and framed each white porous shape.
Katya explores absence through photographing objects that are relics of the declined industry and that embody the negative space; and through the connected objects that we don’t see in the work (the many plates, jugs, bowls, cups and saucers etc. that were made from these moulds); and through the absence of colour, the use of a reduced palette and nuance of tone that veers towards the monochrome.
The experiential approach in making this work allowed for a focus on the form and sculptural qualities of the moulds themselves. The humble, skilfully crafted, inside-out objects are mute yet contain the history of a particular era of Spode and of Stoke.
A book of photographs from Made in Spode is published to coincide with its exhibition. It contains 52 photographic illustrations and a specially commissioned poem by Daniel Cockrill. It is designed by Dominic Brookman of Kenosha, and printed in England.
© Katya de Grunwald
Associate lecturer at Falmouth University and University of Brighton.
A body of work generated from memories expressed through arrangements of natural plant materials with the combination of animal, insects, and some man made objects.
24×20” Argentum prints / toned, from a 10×8” format silver negative.
© Yiorgos Nikiteas
© Jim Cooke