Thames-Side Studios Gallery: In Search of the Vernacular 2 (3-10 Aug 2019)

Thames-Side Studios Gallery

In Search of the Vernacular 2
Grant Aston, Jane Cairns, David Gates, Gail Mahon, Kim Norton, Henry Pim

Exhibition Dates: 3-10 August 2019
Preview: Friday 2 August 2019, 6.30-8.30pm

The vernacular, in architecture as in language, is rooted in the everyday and the prosaic. It is formed of use and habit; it is local and specific. It is concerned with the functional or the domestic rather than the public or monumental. In Search of the Vernacular uses the human scale of contemporary craft to provide a fresh perspective on aspects of vernacular architecture.

By exploring architectural ideas through craft practice, In Search of the Vernacular provides insight into particular characteristics of the vernacular. Applying construction methods to a different set of materials highlights the way process informs the substance of buildings and the city as a system; using the vocabulary of functional structures and objects for other forms reveals their inherent aesthetic properties; working on a smaller scale creates a new viewpoint on structures that shelter and the delineation of space through architecture.

The work in the exhibition is gallery based contemporary craft including sculptural ceramics, installation and bespoke furniture. Exhibiting makers are paired, working either in collaboration or thematically linked. Writing and discourse are an integral part of the exhibition and it will be accompanied by a new publication or catalogue and a considered programme of events designed to stimulate debate and engagement.

haptic/tacit is a collective of artists, makers, and writers that creates opportunities to make, show, and explore ambitious modern craft through a series of thematically-driven exhibitions, events, and publications. For each iteration each participating member invites someone new to be involved, either working collaboratively, in response to one another, or due to their specific take on the subject. This approach creates an evolving network of makers, encourages dialogue, and maintains a fresh outlook, creating a new dynamic through each distinct endeavour.

About the artists:

Grant Aston
Grant Aston's work is informed by biology and architecture. The material we are made from and the societies we build around us. Methods of construction hold a powerful intrigue for him, slip oozing from the clay elements to emphasise the joints, repurposed furniture clamped and pegged into place. His energetic pieces have a paradoxical sense of intransigence and malleability, an assemblage of industrial shapes combined with those from the body.

Henry Pim
Henry Pim’s small sculptures suggest maps, plans, or graphs, (all ways to sort and present information), and they also show an idea of a structural framework, like a building or an engineered structure. They are made from panels of extruded paper clay, using a technique, which continually mutates, revealing ever more possibilities. An important ‘driver’ for evolution of the work is this technical unfolding. This work aims to engage with the 'making-sense-of-it' mindset, which is a default mechanism for humans, and is at the heart of intelligence. The way we see the world depends on how we process the information that we are able to understand. The way that we contribute new things in the world depends on how we select the information that we employ. The way we feel about the world depends upon what we think it is and, most importantly, what we expect it might become.

Kim Norton
In an age with few opportunities to slow down, seclusion, retreat and quiet are at the core of Kim Norton's work. Trained in ceramics a large part of her interdisciplinary practice involves working site-specifically, exploring scale and making work that focuses on how we interact with spaces and the impact these works have on the human senses. Materiality, physicality and presence of material are always evident. It isn't necessary to always reach an outcome or to achieve a final object. The journey through exploration, research and experimentation can be just as rewarding. Pushing material, and breaking conventional rules and expectations through process-led making can reveal a new visual language.

Gail Mahon
Working predominantly in installation, ceramic sculptures and collaborative projects Gail Mahon often draws focus from body theory; of bodies becoming and in constant state change - unmaking and remaking, unfolding permutations of the physiochemical, organic and anthropomorphisms wrapped up material culture to make speculations of emerging changes to environments and ourselves. Her practice utilises knowledge of the ceramic process with found object interjections and material experiments to result in kinetic interplays and physical actions to unfold the process of transformation within her installation, photography and experimental studio films as unsettled arrangements, hovering and shifting. Mapping those disparate fragments of new and ancient landscapes - clay and ceramics reform to become carriers of the collapsed social and political spaces caught between the natural environment, post-industrial landscapes and our domestic situations of our own construction.

Jane Cairns
Jane Cairns’ work is about finding beauty in the ordinary. It’s about the small things and recognising the accidental poetry in the unnoticed and overlooked. The starting point for the work is an observation of her immediate surroundings, exploring apparently insignificant details of the built environment: the way a material has corroded or weathered, a formal relationship between objects or a juxtaposition of colours and textures, a wall where something has been removed, the point way a fence connects to a post.

David Gates
David Gates designs and makes furniture from his studio in South London. His workbench looks across to the wharves, jetties, and silos of the river Thames; part of a landscape of industrial and agricultural architectural forms that inform his work. The rightness, balance, and expediency seen in these structures comprise a vernacular, one reflected in David's use and adaptation of traditional, deliberate hand-making processes. David was awarded a doctorate in Language Discourse and Communication from King's College London for his phd thesis examining the relationship between craft and language. His research focussed on normally unnoticed and unremarkable narrative fragments in spoken discourse. His findings shows the work that locally-relevant talk does in craft practices, questioning the normative view of craft as tacit and silent.

Thames-Side Studios Gallery
Thames-Side Studios
Harrington Way, Warspite Road
Royal Borough of Greenwich
London SE18 5NR.

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