Newlyn Art Gallery

24th April - 16th May 2009

In this exhibition, both literal and metaphorical ‘wastelands’ were represented by a range of contemporary art.

Desolate landscapes, dysfunctional societies and broken minds were portrayed in a variety of media including painting, installation and performance, which in different ways seem to evoke the geographical and psychological themes of T.S. Eliot’s poem The Waste Land of 1922. The show included work by Jane Bailey, Sarah Bunker, Paul Chaney, Joe Doldon, Andy Harper, Ally Mellor, Kate Parsons, Alison Sharkey, Lucy Willow, Alexandra Zierle and Paul Carter.

The exhibition was co-curated by Rebecca Darch, Jeni Fraser, Ruth Gooding and Phil Rushworth, who were students on MA Curatorial Practice at University College Falmouth, graduating in September 2009

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Alexandra Zierle and Paul Carter

Alexandra Zierle and Paul Carter’s collaborative work is interdisciplinary, multi-sensory and site/context responsive spanning from performance, sound, video to installation. Through their practice, Zierle & Carter critically examine different modes of communication and what it means to be human both as individuals and as a ‘collective entity’. Their work addresses notions of belonging, harmony through conflict and the transformation of limitations and sites an embodied investigation of human interactions, intimacy and trust and exemplifies a profound curiosity of the unknown, the void and the instant, namely ‘the now’.
As directors of Live Art Falmouth (LAF), they are currently working in collaboration with Plymouth Arts Centre on a performance art programme in conjunction with a Marina Abramovic exhibition for Plymouth Arts Centre, January 2010.
- Zierle & Carter

On the Private View, 24th April 7pm - 9pm, Below the Skin a one to one performance with Zierle and Carter will be bookable in the studio.

On the 16th of May, Riversong, a private performance with Zierle and Carter will be bookable throughout the exhibtion at the reception.

You maye also view Corpses of Desire, documentation of Below the Skin, for the duration of the exhibition.

Corpses of Desire

Zierle & Carter are internationally active performance artists. For wastelands they intend to explore psychological, inner landscapes as one-to-one encounters with an audience. Disruption and mystery are key factors in the performance employed to enhance sensations of heightened awareness. Subtleties such as feeling the passage of air on the skin while moving around the gallery will “allow audiences to claim their experience and actively engage in the work.”
Zierle & Carter envisage the performance being sensory and tactile including actions, and potentially sound, framed within a narrative.
- Jeni Fraser

Recent Exhibitions
2008 Exist in 08, Brisbane, Australia
2008 Contaminate, Boston, US
2008 Beyond the Abject, Collision 08 Festival, Area10 project space, London
2008 Videophile, Phoenix Gallery, Brighton
2007 Buenos Aires Zonadeartenacción - Foto y Video Acción 2007, Buenos Aires, Argentina
2007 Out of Bounds and Invigorate, The Exchange, Penzance
2006 Ferdinand Zweig Memorial Scholarship, Patagonia, Argentina.

Live Art Falmouth website
Plymouth Arts Centre website

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Lucy Willow

My interest in Death as a subject matter lies at the heart of all my current and past work, connecting it to a dark, visceral, Gothic landscape. I see ‘Gothic’ as a way of thinking and imagining that for me has been there since early childhood. My work has a deeply melancholic edge reflecting a great beauty that can be found in sadness. I have always been interested in exploring dark imagery and the transgression from what is considered ‘safe’. The nineteenth century philosopher Edmund Burke talks about the dual quality of fear and attraction, in A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful which create emotions such as terror and delight. For me there is a sublime beauty to be found in death, a dark, melancholic voyeurism that provokes feelings of fear and delight.
- Lucy Willow

Memento Mori

A series of photographic works titled Memento Mori (remember that you are mortal and everything must die) have a grotesque and beautiful side, attractive yet repellent, celebrating a melancholic state of mind as a kind of desirable, living death. The main body of work consists of a series of still-life photographs – manipulated by working into the surface of wet inkjet prints with a paint brush – that give a sense that the objects depicted are rotting, dripping and decaying before your eyes.
Willow appropriates seventeenth century imagery from vanitas still-life paintings – skull, bubble, extinguished candle, rotting fruit, flowers and jewellery – symbols traditionally associated with death and the transience of life. Using contemporary techniques to achieve highly aesthetic works, Willow’s richly worked surfaces invite close contemplation to uncover meaning. Within the context of wastelands, her jewel-like prints explore the precariousness of the human condition, and Eliot’s evocations of disturbing sights and odours engulfing the senses are given visual tangibility.

- Jeni Fraser

Recent Exhibitions

2009 Momento Mori, Millennium Gallery, St Ives
2008 Mixed Winter Exhibition, Goldfish, Penzance
Canary in the Attic, Salt Gallery, Hayle
Art Now Cornwall, Tate St Ives, St Ives
2006 Battersea Art Fair, London
Make it Real, Whitstable, Kent

Lucy Willow's website

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Alison Sharkey

Sharkey’s practice is often based on observations and encounters recorded while exploring inaccessible or abandoned areas and spaces. Sharkey documents traces of past occupation and assimilates them into poignant, provocative and playful art works. This approach is exemplified by her three modified recreations of the military rescue-training dummy ‘Ruth Lee’. These life-sized models are a brutal presence in the gallery environment.
- Ruth Gooding


The Ruth dummy’s weighted inner core and outer carcass achieve a realistic size and weight, resembling the human proportions of a heavy adult male. Based on the generic ‘Ruth Lee’ brand training dummy that I encountered while exploring a Ministry of Defence training landscape, they are refigured for the gallery space, transformed from resilient, utilitarian tools into vulnerable dead weights.
The method of construction in these versions are far from robust, causing the ‘slumping’ of the aggregate so the dummy will lose its shape when in use. The inner canvas seams will split easily; the outer layer is not durable and will be corrupted by oil, rough surfaces and sharp objects. The identified high stress areas have not been reinforced. If the dummy is dragged along the ground there is no protection against abrasion. It is not recommended that they are dropped from a second story window, run over by a car, dropped into a foaming sea, or set on fire. They are badly designed to be rescued for eternity. With their functionality suspended, we experience them as redundant and useless debris asserting an inert and eerie presence.
- Alison Sharkey


Recent Exhibitions
The New Landscape, Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro
Out of Bounds, The Exchange, one night event, Penzance
Galled, Porned, Cheeked, Folded, Glued and Printed, Spike Island Zine
Fair, Surface Gallery Open, Surface Gallery, Nottingham
Mined, King Edward Museum, Pool, Cornwall
Unity Wood, MORE, Cornwall
Happidrome One, Goonhilly Nature Reserve, Cornwall
Sound:Space screen, South Hill Park Arts Centre, Bracknell

Alison Sharkey's website

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Kate Parsons

My art practice covers sculpture, installation and multi-media and currently l am an artist trustee at Spike Island Studios, Bristol, where l also have my studio. I trained at Chelsea School of Art (BA Hons Sculpture 1977), Goldsmiths’ College (ATC 1979) University of London, completed an MA in Art and Design Education (1994) from De Montfort University, Leicester, and a practice-based PhD in Sculpture (2004) at University of Gloucestershire. I have also been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
My work focuses on an amalgamation of art and anthropology, which has stemmed from living and working in Kenya on a two year contract teaching art (1988-1990). l have been investigating Mbari houses in Nigeria for my next body of work, which was supported by the Arts Council England.
Significantly my output nationally and internationally has included showing at the DFN Gallery, SoHo, New York, the National Museum of Kenya, Nairobi, the Brunei Gallery, SOAS, London, the National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and I have had work archived by Documenta 11, Kassell, Germany and the V & A Museum, London. I have received awards from the Arts and Humanities Research Board and the Arts Council England, which help support my work along with part-time teaching/lecturing.
- Kate Parsons

Presence/Absence II

Presence/Absence II
is a floor construction that has been designed to meld into the fabric of the building. However floor boards have been removed, creating a sense of uncertainty and uneasiness. In the gaps between the floorboards, undulating, dry, red soil sprouts green shoots and reveals leaden remains. The earth is fertile as it sprouts life, though seems redundant in the gallery environment; the artefacts show the presence and absence of human existence through the traces of negative impressions in the clay; the structure appears part of the gallery environment, though it is contesting this. All these factors contribute to a paradoxical tension between presence and absence, hope and fear.
- Ruth Gooding

Recent Exhibitions
2008 Uncommon Ground, Howard Gardens Gallery, UWIC, Cardiff
2008 Spike Island Open Studios, Bristol
2007 Holman Fenwick & Willan, Lloyds Avenue, London EC3

Kate Parsons' website

Kate Parsons' blog; detailing her recent and ongoing work in Nigeria

Spike Island

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Ally Mellor

“Someone once told me that by fearing things, you tend to invite them into your life.”
- Ally Mellor

Blind Faith

Ally Mellor’s work aims to create a disconcerting atmosphere, straddling the boundaries between the real and the uncanny. One prevailing influence is twilight: in this brief time before the onset of total darkness familiar objects can take on a darker and more sinister tone.
Her work encompasses sculpture, found objects and
photography and often involves the recreation of various weather conditions. Her occasional use of atmospheric rural locations and animal forms links her work to ancient folklore that can be both romantic and unsettling.
On the surface Blind Faith is depicting a terrible disaster. Tiny helpless bodies are thrown around by a powerful tornado. After closer inspection, these people aren’t victims but tourists; enjoying the ride. Children frolic in rubber wings whilst their elders photograph the fun, apparently oblivious to the potential for disaster their situation holds. The clean lines and crystal clear water give the sculpture an unreal quality. Is this storm a metaphor for the darker side of human nature, that which is seduced by danger?
- Phil Rushworth

Monday, 13 April 2009

Andy Harper

Andy Harper’s paintings broadly reference nature but are equally a species of engineering and transformation. It is the very process of painting, of instinctual mark-making, that produces his non-mimetic plants and natural forms – glowing crimson seedpods, uncannily smooth and identical leaves. Yet if figurative painting sublimates a god complex, this deity is not a beatific one; these packed and pressured surfaces engender an airlessness which leaves the viewer little breathing space, an alienated world with no ‘outside’.
- Martin Herbert

Neural Plasticity

Andy Harper utilises paint as if he is physically constructing the dense, wild environment portrayed in his paintings. Using rich colour and mesmerising, illusionistic depth, Harper draws the viewer into a beautiful yet dark, unsettling world. Through the repetition of brushstrokes he builds up a complex vision of weeds, grasses and seedpods. Multiple layers of intense and mysteriously produced imagery casts doubt over the innocence of the wild-life emerging from the painted surface. It is almost too good to be true, and as the eye discovers a hint of human remains the viewer is left wondering if these smooth, beguiling natural forms are as harmless as they first appeared.
- Rebecca Darch


Recent Exhibitions

2009 The Persecution, One in the Other, London
2008 New Paintings, One in the Other, London
2008 This is not a fairy tale, Patrick Heide Gallery, London
Whispers of Immortality Natalia Goldin Gallery, Stockholm
2008 Drift, an Illuminate Productions project for the River Thames

Andy Harper's website

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Joe Doldon

My work aims to comment on, and provoke questions about our place within the planet. Since man’s beginning, we have left traces of activity, adapting things to our needs along the way. Over a period of time, we have become increasingly distanced and sheltered from the life of the world we inhabit, creating a formidable discord. With population continuously rising, our demands on its resources are more apparent than ever.
Our attempts to control and intervene with certain aspects of nature can
often lead to catastrophic repercussions. My concern lies with these environmental disasters, and how they serve to erase marks of our existence. Using a juxtaposition of natural and man-made materials, and organic and constructed forms, I attempt to create beautiful objects in celebration of life whilst simultaneously questioning our actions towards this remarkable planet which we find ourselves upon.
- Joe Doldon

For wastelands Joe Doldon will be creating a new piece - Redressing the Balance


Joe Doldon’s miniature urban landscapes appear desecrated by an unknown disaster. Smooth, natural curves of sand bury the rigid architectural shapes that form the infrastructure of the piece – hiding the last evidence of humanity. The small scale of the cityscape is dwarfed by the audience, emphasising man’s vulnerability when faced with cataclysmic natural disasters.
Like archaeological remains we are left to construct our own stories based on what evidence we see. Is this wasteland the remains of a community purged by a vengeful God, or evidence of nature fighting back against civilization’s attempt to control it?
- Phil Rushworth

Shiva's Rainbow

Recent Exhibitions
2008 Bloomberg New Contemporaries, A Foundation, Liverpool
2008 Bloomberg New Contemporaries, Rochelle School, Club Row,
2008 Fleet, Trinity Buoy Wharf, London,
2008 Hitchens, Robert Hitchens Road, Falmouth
2007 Responding to Climate Change, Tremough Campus Library,

Joe Doldon's website