|Colin by Kirsty E Smith nicely juxtaposed against Stephen Livingstone's Dust and Shadows|
There is often suggested movement in my Frillip Moolog beings. And even if the possibility of movement is not obvious to others I personally do think about how they might move if they were animated. When I was making Colin I had thoughts of a worm poking its head out of a hole and swiveling around casting an eye over his surroundings. In fact Colin’s working title was Wormy.
My work does have strong anthropomorphic qualities and it seems obvious that the metal plate on Colin is some sort of face and the central feathers a sort of snout or proboscis.
These thoughts must come from my lifelong love of performance and street theatre in particular. Way back in 1998 I had the pleasure of encountering The Leech. The performance was menacing, exhilarating and magnetic and often when I look at Colin I am reminded of The Leech.
|The Leech street theatre performance|
|So much to look at in this cabinet of curiosities. The fox with the bandaged foot peeps out from the cupboard below the drawing desk|
I happen to know that there is a jar of leeches on show in the recreated Victorian chemist shop which is elsewhere in the museum and for me this is simply even more confirmation of Colin’s appropriateness for this exhibition.
The Room of Wonder half of the show is curated by Bev Jennings and is made up of works by sixteen contemporary artists. There is a great range of pieces; some which really do leave you feeling uneasy to others which seduce you with their beauty so much that you almost overlook their sinister qualities.
|Consequences by Ann Goddard definitely leaves me with a feeling of unease (but the kind of unease that I like)|
|The colours and glazes of Anna Collette Hunt's pieces seduce you|
It might be that someone's great grandfather was an explorer who brought back some of these coins from an Egyptian archeological dig (or of course they might have bought them at auction and their children may have used them to play Tiddlywinks over the years!)
|Many stories within Clare Shrouder's narrative pieces|
I am fascinated by the skeletal foot and the carafes of water which are labelled as fire extinguishers. Is that just plain water inside them or does it have a special ingredient? Museum collections are fascinating for those of us with curious minds and of course museum collections have, and continue to, inspire so many artists.
Paul Biddle’s photographic works are mesmerizing and have the ability to seduce you with their beauty. I particularly fell in love with his Traveling Cabinet of the Count of Muldivo. My photo doesn’t do it justice so see it in detail on Paul’s website.
While viewing the show my eyes were continually making connections between the contemporary works and various of the curiosities from the museum archives.
It is good to be exhibiting Penny again and rewarding for me to see her in such close proximity to an elegant stuffed Herron on an equally elegant dark wood plant stand. My earlier Frillip Moolog beings were heavily influenced by furniture and I have always loved plant-stands in particular.
|Penny by Kirsty E Smith|
|Flight by Kirsty E Smith|
Isn’t this what taking these artifacts out of store is all about? It must have been an exciting process opening up cabinets, drawers and boxes and unwrapping these mysterious objects. It makes me feel like a child at Christmas just thinking about it.
Our fascination with the ability to fly, birds, feathers and flying insects is shared by may of the artists in the show. Stephen Livingstone’s, Songbird Sonnet and Anne Guest’s beautiful photographs from her One Hundred Percent Proof series are just two examples.
|Re Sequence by Anne Guest (Blue Tit with Pheasant wings)|
|Penny, Flight and Colin my contributions to The Room of Wonder at Borough Museum and Art Gallery|
This is an inspired and interesting exhibition which is well worth a visit.
Claire Baker, Paul Biddle, Henny Burnett, Ann Goddard, Naomi Greaves, Anne Guest, Philip Hardacker, Anna Collette Hunt, Stephen Livingstone, Fiona and Neil Osborne (One Red Shoe), Colleen Parker, Chantal Powell, Clare Shrouder, Kirsty E Smith and Sean Williams.
Cabinets of Curiosities and Room of Wonder continues until 12th March 2013
Opening times: Mon-Sat 10am-4.30pm, Sun 2pm-4.30pm