Fragments of Memory, Place and Identity
Photography, Drawing and Painting on Negatives
It's often hard to kick off a new series, and I could procrastinate for hours. To be honest, I chose these works because they spoke to me. It's as simple as that. They stirred something in me, because they speak of who we are as humans. In small fragments, they form part of the puzzle of our experiences.
Lee Nowell-Wilson's drawings of a woman hiding in her clothes (both tiny and larger than life-size) contrast with the freedom and openness of Oliver Schwarzwald's work Ribbon River. Ribbons flutter in the breeze on a riverbank, evoking the happy shouts of people playing and swimming; you can almost hear the cries in your head as you look at the work. Lee's subject turns away from noise, or indeed anything sensory at all. She is literally as close as possible to her own body, as if she is seeking shelter, or a moment's quiet. The larger work - Under Cover - has an almost overwhelming quality of silence in a world where, through our phones and social media, we are all encouraged to communicate constantly.
Jenny Woods captures a moment - her friend Jasmine on a rooftop in Bushwick, Brooklyn, above the apartment they used to share, with the city spreading out below them. The image hums with the promise of a summer's evening in the city, those magical nights where you hear voices all night long and to which, in the depths of winter, you long to return. Jasmine stands alone, but she is not; the city that surrounds her is as much a vital part of the work as she is.
Weaving these disparate strands of nostalgia and selfhood together is Rewati Shahani. Her work - in part - is guided by the identity we choose and the identity we don't choose. The places we settle in and the places that are part of us because of birth or family history. In her two ink on film works, London and Maya, she paints in miniature on 4 x 6 inch negatives, before hand-printing them. In these works, identity is utterly fluid: white becomes black, and black becomes white.