The Guardian: Flights of Fancy Tatton park Biennial 2012 www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2012/may/12/this-weeks-new-exhibitions
Manchester Evening News: Flights of Fancy Tatton Biennial 2012
Press File Tatton park Biennial www.tattonparkbiennial.org/press/
BBC Art Auction Secures Castlefield Gallery Future www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-18294246
The Guardian: ...And Scent of Pine and the Woodthrush Singing Castlefield Gallery, Manchester
Manchester Evening News: And Scent of Pine and the Woodthrush Singing, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester
GO SEE: ...Singing Through the Fog Carter Presnts, London
Summer Arts Calender, The Guardian, May 16 2011
This much-loved small gallery was one of the unlucky ones in this year's Arts Council funding review, but art lovers in the city have rallied around, determined to keep it open. Hilary Jack's first UK solo show, And Scent of Pine and Wood Thrush Singing, is an excellent reason to visit: a mainstay of the city's contemporary art scene, she's coming home after making a name for herself further afield. Expect witty and intriguing sculptural works in which cast-off items find new life.
Exhibition preview: The Social Lives Of Objects, Manchester
Castlefield Gallery, to 19 Jul
* Robert Clark
* The Guardian, Saturday 6 June 2009
Hilary Jack, Lisa Penny and Dallas Seitz are artistic plunderers of the roadside skip, the charity shop and of the more eccentric reaches of eBay. They recycle the detritus of our urban existences: broken umbrellas, last month's magazines, false teeth, detached stilettos, mangy fox stoles, mantelpiece ceramic ornaments no longer treasured. Their raw materials bear the marks of backstreet histories. Through an aesthetic of fragmentation, of disorientation and unpredictable re-assemblage, they arrive at sculptural images that come on like dream mementos of fictional autobiographies, or icons of obscure personal mythologies. It's a sculptural tradition with a long history - dada, surrealism - the mundane made marvellous, bad taste transformed into something else.
The Social Lives of Objects
Thalia Allington-Wood is disturbed by the mermaids at Castlefield Gallery
Walking into The Social Lives of Objects is like entering a curiosity shop. Objects from around the world, unexpected and delightful, stand on shelves, tables and plinths. Manipulated, adapted and skewed, the sculptures and multimedia images of this exhibition are simultaneously comic and disturbing.
In one, a mermaid skeleton is created with the tail of a fish, goat bones and a modelled human head. The artwork playfully examines our relationship with material objects by distorting them and provoking our expectations. Two brushes are placed together and initially look like a set of false teeth, a tennis racquet is filled with gridded glass, another re-strung to have a circular hole in the middle. The objects are everyday yet utterly surprising in their new forms. Their associations are altered, their signification changed.
All the objects used by artists Hilary Jack, Lisa Penny and Dallas Seitz have been found, whether in charity shops, skips or on eBay. None of them are new, they each have an individual past, a previous life, and it is this that the works seek to explore and articulate.
Hilary Jack’s wonderful ‘Centaur Departs Damaged Herd’ comprises of carved Kenyan springbok, standing upon a variety of salvaged wooden tables. Protruding from their bare heads are gnarled and forked branches, antler like. The composition of wood in its natural form, joined and moulded to the manufactured products it serves to make, tells the story of the sculptured springbok’s happening. Once tree, now sculpture.
Dallas Seitz’s work is far more disturbing and uncomfortable. He mutilates objects embedded in family history (taxidermy animals, bones, teeth, a voodoo bust taken from his grandmother’s bathroom) into ominous, mythical and gothic sculptures. Rather than replicate and explain the objects' histories, Seitz creates new ones that maintain respect for their past. The most off-putting element is the pleasure they give the viewer.
In one, a mermaid skeleton is created with the tail of a fish, goat bones and a modelled human head. This mermaid has in no way emerged from a beloved Disney flick. Another, ‘Voodoo Princess’, shows a, now politically incorrect, plaster sculpture of a beautiful black woman. Her eyes are replaced with those once belonging to a doll, teeth are hung around her neck and within her hair, coral earrings adorn her, their aesthetic mocking and highlighting the grotesque nature of her other appropriated accessories.
Seitz’s work creates strong emotions if nothing else; horror mixed with fascination, fear with admiration. They highlight our love of the strange and obscure, our interest in all that is opposed to the norm.
Interspersed among these is the work of Lisa Penny, whose collaged pieces reiterate the repetition and borrowing that takes place within history, trends, and object associations. By placing images together, removing them from their original context, or cutting out part of their composition, Penny forces us to look at them in a new light. Like all of the artists in this intriguing and clever exhibition, Penny challenges and reorders the meanings of individual objects and in doing so highlights the associations that fill our daily discourses.
The Social Lives of Objects, Castlefield Gallery, 2 Hewitt Street, Manchester, Wednesday-Sunday, 1pm-6pm, until 19 July, free, 0161 832 8034, www.castlefieldgallery.co.uk