The natural world, and our connection to it, is the subject for Ken Bambury whose interest in Dighty Water has provided both subject matter and physical material for his show. His exquisitely rendered watercolour studies of the wildlife inhabiting Dighty are disrupted from any sentimentality by the realist inclusion of disposed plastic bottles lurking beneath reeds and behind nests. His investigation of environmental harm is further explored through the use of Japanese Knotweed canes to make flutes and by exploring the potentials of using other discarded materials to fashion musical instruments. This work is about both raising awareness of the natural environment and about the material and the conceptual possibilities of recycling. Similarly, Sophie Wotherspoon also contemplates the fragility of the natural world and themes of recyclability by moulding found organic forms into undulating glass sculptures.
Continuing on the theme of the natural world, Katie Harris MacLeod’s suspended felt sculptures are a paradox of lightness and weight. The use of wool materially symbolises etherealness, natural warmth and the domestic, and the inclusion of an entrance into the womblike interior space provides the prospect of a safe, protective place. The accompanying books, photographs, and also the poetic dialogue of the sound piece all pertain to wild landscapes, and to natural cyclical themes of loss, acceptance and rebirth.
Identity is a theme that features in the work of artists Zoe Hodgett, Clare Hutchison, Georgia Flowers, Kirsty Erskine, Jennifer Souter and to a degree in the narrative surrealist performance of Kaylee Malcolm. In the work of these artists, physical outward appearances are a subject for photography, digital manipulation, mirror reflections and illusions, or as fragmented traces of moulded plaster or glass. Intangible inner emotion also emerges as inseparable from the outward within this construct of the self, the art practice emerging as a site for performance, affirmative action, dark humour and potential catharsis.
The cyclical nature of deep time is the subject for printer and photographer Leanne Glass. Utilising found shards of meteorites and fossils, and the life-giving elements of carbon, salt and water, her photograms and resin sculptures both capture and encase something within their materiality of the essence of the universal and the ancient.
Everyday life and the intrusion of technology, rendering humans repetitive and redundant, is explored in the time based kinetic sculptural contraptions of Jonny Walker. Meanwhile in the work of Duncan Herd, man is a mere consumer, negotiating society’s terms and conditions on a daily basis within the chilly aesthetic of everyday objects of steel and plastic states and altered scale.
The abstract paintings and prints of Lorna Sinclair are spontaneous and playful, with an energetic handleability of materials and mark making. They summon happy memories of childhood and of dramatic, illuminated landscapes. Large canvases and prints immerse the viewer in a lyrical synergy of marks, colours and shapes.
Alternative worlds, imagination and childlike imagery are the subjects of Filippa Pirrip, Freya Whitaker and Kirsten Bennie. Cartoons, monster figures and giant character heads invite us to enter other possible realities where we can confront our worst fears or take on different personae to question personal beliefs about the world in which we live.
Further reflections on art and society are to be found in the language-based works of Leigh O Hare, and in the maintenance repetitions in the work of Emma Nellies and Emma McCarthy. Things that fit almost unnoticed into our lives like language, fishtanks, custard, ropes and the pursuit of exercise are the subjects for intriguing, hypnotic video works and the inclusion of symbolic readymades common to modern domestic linings.