Bec Bromley Humphries is an artist with a background in sociology and psychology and her work is informed by the complexity of life and capacity for subtle slow social change. She makes intricate and involved sculptures and installations, working with paper and fabric – often working with themes of loss and nostalgia, her materials have ranged from collections of book dedications (To my Dear, 1944- 1963), remains of old book spines (Hollywood Amnesia) and sewn paper.
For the Shelf she has created a site specific textile work ‘Mycelium Grove’, an abstracted landscape inspired by plants and fungi, made of soft fabric sculpture coated in a porcelain slip. The title references ‘Mycelium’ the enormous underground fungal network – a bacterial colony consisting of branching threads, which can spread for large distances under the earth. Humphries relates the Mycelium spores to Jungian concepts of the concious and unconcious mind.
She says ‘ In our daily lives we can forget how sensitive and responsive we are – if we are healthy we take experiences and integrate them into a meaningful whole. We grow – like plants, and adapt to change, constantly adjusting, forgiving, letting go or holding on. This work explores the seen and imagines the space unseen’.
‘While reading about how to tell the age of a stone, I discovered that the language used to date a rock resonated with my new ‘mother’ status. Terms like ‘daughter product, nuclei don’t get tired, the staircase of time, half life and 100% pure parent’ seem to be directly referring to the business of raising my child.
‘Half life’ is a bit like the will to continue an arts practice using two 45 minute ‘nap’ blocks each day. ‘Nuclei don’t get tired’ seems to be taunting me and reminding me of my human weakness as I succumb to fatigue by 6pm each day, and remove previously deposited material, well, if that isn’t directly referring to the constant deposits of excrement I deal with several times a day …!
This version of Stone Age has been made specifically for The Shelf Gallery. Using the distance between the creation of the work and the destination, small sculptures and assemblages have been shipped across the world on miniature balsa wood pallets – playing with the weight of the work against the heaviness of stones.
A photo taken of the sunrise (a time of day I’ve recently had to embrace) matched with 2 stones of the same colour, a small pile of orange pips extracted from my daughters fruit and an improvised toy imitating a rock, showing a sunbather relaxing on a pebbly beach rest on the palettes amongst real stones and painted images of rocks in watercolour.
Guessing the age of a stone parallels the constant monitoring of the growth of my daughter against age – her weight and height measured precisely to ensure she (and I) are reaching the desired milestones in life’. – Lizzy Sampson.
*STONE AGE was made during Lizzy Sampson’s ‘Artist Residency in Motherhood’. As part of her ARIM she loosely set up the structure of a 45 minute PhD – a strategy to learn as much as she can about a particular topic using the duration of her daughters naps.
Showing work by Sarah Van Sloten until the 26th September. Sarah’s work is a delightfully irreverent and whimsical combination of painting, sculpture and installation work combining ‘everyday’ objects such as pieces of pasta, pipe cleaners plasticine and more traditional forms of painting, collage and illustration.
The work evokes a nostalgia with an ironic twist, her use of materials is clever; plasticine balls with smily faces haloed by pipe cleaners display a knowing whit rather than a childishness. Her work speaks of social context, spaces of communiqué slipping between the domestic and the ‘professional’ – the work exists somewhere on the edge of Bourriaud’s conception of Relational aesthetics but says more of social situations and frenzied activity now past, re-configured as carefully controlled installations – testaments to other moments, contexts and gestures.
Currently showing a new series of works by South American artist Fiorella Cordella. Cordella’s work explores the complex relationship between the human figure and the landscape. In this series she photographs her son in various settings in Chile, from the domestic, the remote to the municiple, the small figure is sometimes the subject but more often hidden or obscured. See more of Cordella’s work here.
‘P in the landscape’ A series of photographs by Fiorella Cordella.
Work by Mindy Sue Wittock 29th July – 12th August.
Mindy Sue grew up on the border of Northern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan.
She received her BA from the University of Wisconsin Green Bay and her MFA from Arizona State University with a concentration in fibers and textiles.
Mindy Sue has previously worked as an associate lecturer of art and a gallery director at the University of Wisconsin Fond du Lac. She has an extensive exhibition record and history as a textile based arts educator. She Currently works in her home studio in Cedarburg, Wisconsin where she makes soft sculptures and hand sitched wall pieces.
‘Imaginary Friends: Kitchen‘ is a series of small works made from domestic textiles and kitchen utensils. The pieces were catalysed by a frustration at never seeming to escape from the domestic chores of the kitchen and the tensions between feeling lonely and never being alone as a stay at home mother. You are invited to touch, hold and interact with the sculptures in this exhibition.
Work By artist Robert Good on the shelf 17th -27th July.
Robert Good is an artist who works with language and text with the themes of collecting, cataloging and organising implicit to the work. Precise (yet idiosyncratic) systems of sequencing are often tempered by traces of a physicality- implied acts of cutting, snipping, shredding and erasing – which gently point towards compulsive tendencies. His breaking down, deconstructing and re-assembling is reminiscent of a child’s efforts to ‘understand’ but in embracing a kind of un-knowing, Robert creates fantastical new systems with their own private logic, lending his work the unique affect of being both re-assuring and troubling at the same time and making wider comment about knowledge acquirement and its delivery.
Problems of Philosophy (2016, ongoing project) Philosophy books, receipt spikes.
In this work (above) antiquarian philosophy books by Rousseau, John Stewart Mill, Bart, Locke and Descartes have been deconstructed and impaled page by page onto receipt spikes – the work speaks of a processing and consumption of knowledge and implies either an act of reading akin to the materialist consumption documented through the collecting of receipts or a violent act which suggests a frustration with this hallowed philosophical canon. Either way, separated from their protective bindings the pages lie limp and languorous. Robert says, ‘Are the texts important, possibly profound? I don’t know, I cannot understand them.‘ Robert has adapted the work for the Shelf Gallery with the inclusion of colourful protective foam beads on the end of each spike – making reference to our young inquisitive household.
Library (2017) Collected books. (below).
Robert says, ‘Library attempts to compile an authoritative set of reference works: an antidote, perhaps, to contemporary anxiety about fake news and post-truth relativism’. The collection is at first, a curiosity that seeks to re-assure, offering a concrete reference archive to balance the fast moving online world of Fake news but on closer inspection, the books themselves reveal doctrines and assumptions of certainty which are profoundly unsettling. ‘The Truth About Gay Marriage’ turns out to be a religious conservative rant full of vitriol and ‘The Truth about Immigration’ is similarly right wing. ‘library’ raises unsettling ideas on the subjectivity of truth but the collection is also in part very humorous, with titles such as ‘The Truth about Chuck Norris’ and ‘The Truth About Cottages’ not failing to raise a smile. If only revelations about the veracity of cottages and martial arts experts were all we needed to worry about…
Works by carly Butler include; Letterpress print ‘Save Our Souls’ 2017. Letterpress print ‘The fall and winter months are dreary beyond expression’ a quote from Father Augustin Brabant, Vancouver Island missionary 1874. 2017. Digital photograph. sand pile. Crab claw, driftwood, stones, seaweed and small bottles of seawater from various locations around Sooke and Tofino, British Columbia.
Robert Nicol is an artist and illustrator who lives in Norfolk. He is a graduate of Glasgow school of Art and the Royal College. He has exhibited his work widely. In his paintings he plays with ideas of the human figure in landscape, humour, fear and the surreal and is interested in the relationship between object, the 2D image and their connection to different modes of story telling. His work has a variety of influences from Dutch landscape painting and classic takings on the mythological to pop and folk art. Many of his paintings and sculptures are very small echoing the work of 18th century portrait miniaturists and artists working within the Netherlandish naturalist miniature tradition such as Joris Hoefnagel. Robert also grows Bonzai trees.
Images from opening 24th March. Robert Nicol – Untitled paintings; acrylic on perspex, sculptures, hand-modelled and hand glazed earthenware.