CORRESPONDENCE 01 - JESSICA WETHERLY & JACKSON SPRAGUE
Letchworth - Elevation 59 - 837ft, (2021) pewter, plastic, pvc, pump, paper and steel
Exeter - Elevation 59 - 837ft, (2021) pewter, plastic, pvc, pump, paper and steel
The work is a derivative of ongoing projects songs of the siren:
SONG OF THE SIREN
Looking down at a map in hand or on a screen we see a flattened world, we imagine ourselves moving over a fixed surface towards our destination, whilst the way we have come recedes from our consciousness. Hundreds of years of observing the planets, of striving to discern our place within the universe have been condensed into elaborate equations, hidden in code and stored in the instruments we use everyday without a second thought. We can travel thousands of miles across the world without any appreciation for the majesty of such a feat. No longer laying down memories of the journey instead isolated points float around us without any anchors. It is both far easier and faster to follow blindly, however the impact it has on our daily lives is significant. Our dependence on gps is slowly erasing our sense of where we are and with this, who we are. We have become detached and disillusioned. We have become a beam of blue light radiating out a solitary beacon, a lighthouse, where we have become the centre of a virtual sphere.
Discomfort, fear, guilt, loss, loneliness and longing rise up within us in the face of the unknown. We are lost, seduced into submission by our desire and insistence on adapting and relying on technology. Disparate information - disconnected like the scattered pieces of a puzzle. We forget that before modern technology we were all moved by nature. Humidity, shadows, vibrations, birdsong are all lost languages. We have designed instruments and climate controlled environments that isolate us from this guidance. Our senses dulled, our patience waning and the conditioning of a consumerist society have left the majority of us disabled. Many of us lay swaddled in comfort, ignorance or in denial of the storm rising around us, protected by a barricade of numbness, self interest and privilege. The little lights of liquid crystal displays infatuate and distract us from what is real. I look at the little blue searchlight on my gps device and I wonder at the abstract symbols that make up the blank memories. I feel disoriented when I zoom out to a wider world view. Isolated on this island surrounded by sea, I realise how little I respected distance within the ease of a globalised world, all I have are a few facts researched on Wikipedia. The siren sings to us and we are lulled by her seduction, we are falling for her and in this moment we are swallowed by a slow walk to extinction under a facade of self-preservation.
Some thoughts on our exchange
I think we both were interested in the challenge of the concept of the A4 envelope, the exchange and the pairing. I wanted to attempt to make an installation which could be flat packed. When I researched the site of Exeter Phoenix on the site of the original Rougemont Castle where William the Conqueror stormed in. This story struck a chord as it matched the legend growing up in Berkhamsted, the town where William the Conqueror was crowned King, which gave the sleepy market town some sense of history. The concept of the sirens seemed fitting, with the unknown place far away, the only contact via zoom, I wondered whether sending a letter or only exchanging text would have been more interesting but it felt quite constructed and there wasn’t really enough time to develop this conversation. I would have liked to imagine the long march from Exeter to Berkhamsted which took place almost 1000 years ago compared to the instantaneous signals dropped into my phone from Jackson as we exchanged our few fragments of conversation.
Exeter - A sweet fragrance, (2021) Cardboard, paper tape, acrylic spray paint, plywood
Letchworth - Be my pet (2021) cardboard, paper tape, acrylic spray paint, plywood
Plymouth-based Jackson Sprague’s sculptural works develop from the everyday eventfulness of a household and its routines. The intimate drama of living with others amongst objects is transposed to the gallery where his sculptures often demand the attentions of real or fictional characters or pull the viewer into physical and emotional proximity through bodily or autobiographical symbolism and text. Sprague’s work, utilising pointedly seductive colour and formal arrangement and the inhabited situations of gallery or home, tenderly exposes ambiguities that are characteristic of physical and psychical relationships.
The frame could be considered a vase in this instance; a flower (from Alexander Calder) changed over time, it’s water replaced.
Cardboard, often used as a protective material, is itself hard work to preserve: no way back when it kinks or gets wet.
These cardboard flowers have been cut and pressed in plywood frames to be sent by post.
I really appreciated conversations and image sharing with Jessica. Our exchanges were a good way to formulate my approach to the shows (independently and in response to Jessica) and it’s helped to open a new avenue of work that I don’t think would have come about otherwise.