Back to the Things Themselves.
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PUNTON, L. and SPARK, J., 2012. Back to the Things Themselves. Exhibition held at Wasps Artists Studios, The Briggait, Glasgow, 20th April – 7th May 2012.
Exhibition Statement: Lesley Punton and Judy Spark share a concern in their attempts to bridge a certain sort of gap; that of the difference between the physical experience of specific varieties of ‘natural’ phenomena or places, and their articulation in human terms. Both feel the impossibility attached to this problem, but nonetheless remain dedicated to its resolution through the making of art. For these two artists, the making of an artwork is a process of interrogating lived experience and it is the language used to express this search, which is also a quest for other varieties of understanding, alternative ways of knowing the world. The question of whether such alternative interpretations are subjective or in some way universal is inherent to the work. The processes of Punton and Spark sustain common patterns; periods of concentrated engagement with objects and places of interest, an awareness during such engagement, of duration, of breathing, of scale, and working methods which mirror these physical experiences; an almost meditative approach to drawing for example. The results stand as evidence of the inquiry, the process itself is what is important. The bodily experience of phenomena is reflected in the consideration of how, and for how long, the viewer physically encounters the work, which is ‘quiet’ and aims to draw the viewer into a contemplative ‘space’ in which they might imagine, or consider, their own process of engagement with ‘the things themselves.’ Having recognised the similarities between their working practices, the two artists have begun to pay close attention to their contrasting approaches to the pursuit of an idea; Punton’s is deeply experiential, entirely dependent upon the measured contact of her feet with the ground of the remote environments she craves. Spark however, despite a natural bent towards phenomenological thinking and certain Eastern approaches to the natural world, feels unable to completely suspend her embeddedness within technologically bound western culture, for her a revised understanding of one, can only impact the other. From the dialogue generated by these commonalities of practice, as well as their disjuncture, these artists attempt to probe the gaps between experience, whether natural or technological, and its articulation, with the hope of uncovering the fertile ground of potential new understandings. The resulting work takes the form of drawings, photography and recorded sound. (THE SOUND FILES ON PAGES 5 AND 8 CAN BE PLAYED BY FIRST DOWNLOADING THE PDF AND THEN CLICKING ON THE GREY BAR AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE (REQUIRES ADOBE READER 9.0))