Private view Friday 19 November 2021 2 – 8pm
ARTIST TALK: SAT 11 DEC 3.00-5.00pm
AFTER (life of) OBJECTS is a solo show by Andrea Gregson which brings together new, recent and unseen works and includes sculpture, a ceramic installation and drawing. Using experimental forms of metal casting and re-appropriating found material fragments, the work draws upon post-industrial sites encountered by the artist. The exhibition considers landscape as a relic of past production and the connections and conflicts between industry and nature. Gregson has visited sites including Thames Embankment, Grizedale Forest in Cumbria, Heysham Barrows in Lancashire, and Glen Nevis in Scotland, locating objects on the fringes of the natural and industrial. The works on show reflect upon the relics and residues left behind by human activity, exploiting sculptural casting processes with the potential to radically transform materials.
The metal cast works explore the language of reproduction and the overlooked and inside space of sculpture. Fossilising found objects to a new materiality, plastic bags and other waste matter are transformed into miniature metal caves with interiors for reflection. Peering through holes in these sculptures offers up an unexpected space within. The scale refers to the dimensions of the body, linking psychological states with geological form. Flagrant Matter and other works use the lost wax Italian method of bronze casting, which builds from a core. Interestingly, another name for the core is ‘anima’, when translated into English its meaning is ‘soul’. These sculptures focus equally on the internal hidden space and the external surface, drawing on notions that objects can have an interior life, a ‘soul’; forms that bear witness beyond the surface of things to their material past.
Objectships is a series of sculptural assemblage combining broken and waste parts from plastic, glass, metal, wood and ceramic with rocks found on walks. Gleaned from different places and time, the chance remains are reinvented through a distinct sculptural play between cast objects, namely the mass-produced cast components of human industry with the geological cast flint nodules and rock formations of nature. Some of the partial objects are recast as bronze wholes, balanced together according to their form, location and materiality whilst others such as Itinerant Moraine are inversions of objects, bound together by Gregson’s sculptural labour with the relics of its own making process.
A new iteration of the ongoing work, Spectre, is a ceramic installation that connects with the architectural plasterwork found within the Georgian gallery appearing as ghostly parasites on the walls. The work composed of porcelain bracket fungi has a decorative quality signifying 18th Century grotesque and the objectification and mass production of nature. In nature, bracket fungi manifest cycles of life, death, time formed into an eerie beauty.
A selection of Found Landscapes will be included in the show which depict folds of matter, bodies of landscape, rockpools, shelters, mountains, ruins, geological outcrops and subterranean worlds; the picturesque captured into a compact space: a landscape in your hand. These miniature drawings are made on wood shavings from Stott Park Bobbin Mill in Cumbria, formerly a supplier of 19th century Lancashire textile mills, still working its machinery.
Throughout art history, artists have objectified nature through picturesque views for visual consumption where ruins, industrial relics, dwellings, geological formations become visual reference points in the picture plane. Nature has become a landscape of objects, a container of material history, of industry, agriculture and the built environment, layers of time and human intervention as conglomerates of form. A new series of illuminated ink drawings, Nightscapes, depicts post-industrial ruins and landscapes at the edge of nature. These works which started at night during lockdown, became a daily ritual of making at home. Trapped in the city, they represented places out of bounds from beyond the home: imaginary places for reflection. In their illuminated form, the imagery brought into view is reminiscent of Victorian silhouettes, a form of shadow play.
Gleaning traces of material history, the works on show mediates the death of objects with structures in nature and human artifice. It builds on Gregson’s research into bucolic landscapes and the inter-relationship between post-industrial, domestic and geological sites, drawing attention to changing material states and the Anthropocene.
A specially commissioned essay about the work by art writer, critic and curator, Rebecca Geldard, will be available throughout the show.
Andrea Gregson is an artist, curator and Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at University for the Creative Arts, Farnham. From 1995-97 she received a Postgraduate Fellowship at the Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw, Poland and in 1998, an MA Fine Art, at Manchester Metropolitan University. In 2016, she was artist in residence at the University of East London supported by the Henry Moore Foundation. She has exhibited widely in the UK and abroad including Danielle Arnaud, London (2021); Grizedale Gallery, Cumbria (2019); Gaesteatelier Hollufgard, Fyn, Denmark (2017); Romantso, Athens, Greece (2017); Patrick Heide, London (2014); Concrete, Hayward Gallery (2012); Torrance Art Museum, Los Angeles, USA (2011); The Garden Museum, London (2009); Galerie Shuster, Berlin, Germany (2009); Galeria XX1, Warsaw, Poland (2005); Centre for Contemporary Art, Zamek Ujazdowski, Warsaw, Poland (2000). Curatorial projects include Gustav Metzger’s, Facing Extinction Conference and Exhibition, James Hockey Gallery, UCA Farnham, Herbert Read Gallery (2014) and Remember Nature (2015/2022); Workshop of Hereafter, Blyth Gallery, London (2009); The Miniature World Show, Jerwood Space (2006).
The show has been generously supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and Research Funding from the University for the Creative Arts.