Thursday, June 17, 2010

'The habit of continuously running' Exhibition Statement

The habit of continuously running.

"Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"

- Lewis Carroll

There are some things that can neither be explained nor forgotten. In an attempt to understand, or at least place within a context of rationale, man turns things around. He begins by looking in a different direction and pace; above, below, fast and slow. He captures images to unravel meaning. In this exhibition Michelle Beattie, Yolunda Hickman and Rebecca Snelling examine the parallel that runs between motivation and result and the spaces in between.

In Michelle Beattie’s Arrival and Departure series it is not apparent whether one is arriving or leaving. Each painting is an apprehensive pause; an over the shoulder glance at that which is left behind, or the momentary hesitation prior to returning to life on the ground. From above, it is observable that separate places exist at the same time. They are connected by the often inert spaces in between and freed from the limitations of life at ground level. Distance and direction are not rigid. Even time gives up an element of exactness so destiny seems not only possible but also pliant. The world feels feasible from such great heights.

There is an ontological glue which holds a comet in the sky, suspended above the Earth for a brief moment on its course of perpetual motion. Yolunda Hickman’s replicated still image gives a moving object a pattern it does not own and words which place it in time. They freeze that which does not stop in actuality. When written material transpires over time and change is a given constant; a static image enforces an affected pause. The moment of wishing on a comet inspires an instant of promise, of possibility. Superstition and hope satisfy a control over the unknowable and unpredictable. The pretense of understanding and control is a simple gesture or sign, which sedates and stalls the present.

The temporality of running confronts a reality of return. Unlike the natural consummate eternal, man cannot keep moving forever. Although currently concealed, Rebecca Snelling must face the eventual removal of the paper bag from her head. There is a collapse of sentimental illusion when hiding ends; an inevitable moment when one must surrender and reveal oneself. Instead of herself, the artist reveals the pictures of our selves that we refuse to see. The image is more solid than real life, the static form forces confrontation and breaks the habit of movement.

The time and spaces in between leaving and returning are filled with movement. When the inbetween is suspended through image and word, new attention is drawn to the quotidian. Words never quite touch the ground and images are heavy; even though both remain deficient to the experience, they are better than nothing. Better than habitually and continuously running.

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