HEATHER & IVAN MORISON, BEN RIVERS, DAVID THORPE
11 Feb – 10 June 2012
This was the first in a regular series of spring exhibitions that explore common concerns and themes in the work of some of the most innovative contemporary artists. Heather and Ivan Morison, Ben Rivers and David Thorpe use film, sculpture, installation and performance to pose questions regarding our relationship to nature and what happens when man-made and natural worlds collide.These exhibitions explore utopian beliefs and practices and an impending sense of apocalypse.
Heather and Ivan Morison presented a new body of work using objects, performance and puppetry to draw on the life and work of 20th century British novelist Anna Kavan. This new work was framed within Anna, an allegorical piece of object theatre that depicted a tale of love in ominous and foreboding times. Anna’s three narrators were represented by a large netted sphere that floats sun-like in the gallery space and two contrasting large-scale wall works, produced using soot and black bone pigment, and chalk and white bone pigment. This new exhibition complemented the Morisons’ outdoor commission for the gallery, The Black Cloud, 2011.
Ben Rivers showed his award-winning film Slow Action. Fresh from the Viennale Film Festival, this post-apocalyptic science-fiction film comprises a series of four 16mm sections filmed on location at three island sites across the globe: Lanzarote, Gunkanjima and Tuvalu, as well as Somerset in England. Presenting a series of constructed realities, the film exists somewhere between documentary, ethnographic study and fiction, with soundtrack narratives by American novelist and critic Mark von Schlegell. From the same body of work Rivers will also exhibit a series of photographic portraits entitled Somerset Clade.
David Thorpe’s installation comprised new watercolours and meticulously crafted sculptural works, presented for the first time in Europe. Thorpe’s sculptures explore his interest in rehabilitating ancient craftsmanship and labour-intensive artisanal techniques. Drawing on the Arts and Crafts Movement and the work of William Morris and John Ruskin, Thorpe explores new forms of utopianism, where past and present intersect.