This exhibition brings together four artists, Madi Acharya-Baskerville, Hayley Harrison, Anne Parfitt and Nick Pearson, who each explore the relationship between art and the ordinary through their work with found and discarded objects and materials.
Objection points the viewer to the opaque and shifting boundaries between art and not-art – to art’s uncertainty. Plastic bags, beachcombed wood, the ‘stuff’ people leave on pavements, and charity shop souvenirs – such everyday residue or trash, embodying past histories and cultural meanings, become vehicles in the creative process for both transformation and reflection.
Madi Acharya-Baskerville’s practice is a synthesis of unlikely elements. She creates works which move fluidly between different media. Her work is concerned with the passage of time as an agent for disintegration, preservation and renewal. The objects Acharya-Baskerville collects keep her connected to the past – yet the past becomes the present as she adorns discarded matter with decorative patterns from her Indian culture. Through the artistic process, Acharya-Baskerville shows how the found or the abandoned can come to embody aspects of ourselves and represent life changes.
Hayley Harrison’s work examines our disconnection with ‘nature’ and each other – via discarded materials, text and performance. Through the rituals of making and performance she commiserates redundant packaging and honours ‘natural’ products, questioning the anthropocentric distinctions we make between the human and non-human world. The work navigates home, as a shelter, a community and ancestry drawing from two perspectives: the anxiety of her childhood experiences of family and the refuge of nature, and the current world-wide anxiety of climate change and loss of community. She is interested in the implications of the language we use around ecology and our human-centric understanding of time.
Anne Parfitt is preoccupied with opposites, veering towards materials, processes and ideas which appear irreconcilable. Living in a small seaside town on the south coast of England, she became interested in depictions of the human figure on popular second-hand ornaments continually exchanged in the burgeoning charity shop market and which bedeck many homes in the area. Parfitt juxtaposes the sentimental refinement of kitsch with disparate, subversive elements, poking fun at art and culture, and imparting to the work a grotesque as well as playful character.
Nick Pearson’s work starts with the choice of an object or material found discarded in the street or junk shop – things that have fallen out of use, but which speak to him of their history and potential. Pearson sees himself as rehabilitating these objects, putting them together to discover relationships between them. Sometimes repaired or adjusted, shapes develop, colours combine, different histories collide and new formal or conceptual meanings evolve. Pearson’s work sometimes references art history; but is also often characteristically humorous and witty.