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Disrupted Narratives The drive to re-define the concepts of belonging, potential, roots and desire is the inspiration behind the Disrupted Narratives exhibition. The never ending metamorphosis of reality and perception and modern anxieties about the reliability and validity of personal memory force us to question the idea of identity as an anchor that links the narratives of past, present and future. Six artists: Fiona Carson, Katie Gilman, Ann Haycock, Carole Luby, Sue Mancholas, and Yewande Okuleye use painting, performance, installation, film and drawing to take us on a journey. In the search for meaning, through the investigation of form, space and place, six women try to find meaning within the disruptions which encroach on lives and their art practice. The twists and turns of this quest throw up unexpected revelations: one artist found a long lost relative; another finds solace in facebook as a site to explore forgotten memories.

AVA Gallery, University of East London. Private View 28th April 2010. Exhibition 26th April- 4 May 2010

Fiona Carson My work in this exhibition is from the series Sixty by Degrees. The series title refers both to age, and the temperature at which wool felts in a washing machine. This group of works refers to different kinds of everyday ritual activity; washing clothes, going for walks in the local woods and parks with friends, and knitting. These feminine domestic activities underpin another iconography that opposes nature to culture and refers to an animistic engagement with nature in the form of birds, insects and sea creatures. Hence the titles Butterfly Fetish, Oceanic Fetish, Cowled Figure, Owlet. Placing these constructions back into a landscape environment that they were inspired by, changes them, as they are affected by place, time and seasonal change. Important to the process is the intuitive shaping of the material and an aspiration to create objects that are ambiguous ‘presences’ in the landscape. In Snowbound, they are grouped together as if they were at an ancient shamanistic site, referencing ancestor worship, proxies for a lost sense of continuity and place. I like to tear up, reconstruct, weave, plait, knot, sew, pour and draw. Found, recycled and donated materials can introduce an element of chance or limitation, stimulating the unconscious. Forms emerge which reference the natural world, the body, family dynamics, the unconscious.

Katie Gilman Katie Gilman was born in Tasmania, Australia and moved to England with her family as a baby. Her work involves an investigation of form, space and place; a search for meaning and understanding articulated through placement, repetition and process which is deeply rooted in her physical and emotional experience of the world as an adopted person. She is driven by the urge to ritualistically define and explore the formal qualities of materials, objects and spaces in a quest to understand her own place in the world. This work was originally made for Deptford X 2008. Drawing on the history of rope making in Deptford the artist arduously produced rope by hand from rolls of sleek, shiny black bin bags which were plaited together repeatedly to form chunky, twisted ropes and coiled and wrapped into a large circular form which was sited on a roundabout in Deptford during the festival. The title of the work 10,597 denoted the distance in miles between Deptford and Tasmania - the birthplace of the artist and final destination of convict boats that sailed from Deptford in the early to mid nineteenth century. For the Disrupted Narratives exhibition the work is transported approximately four miles along the Thames to the UEL Docklands campus and re-presented in this new context. Retitled 10,593 to mark this onward journey the work continues the artist’s exploration of connections between site (London Docklands) and her place of birth. In this case the significance of East India Docks (a short distance from the gallery) revealed itself during research as Abel Tasman the first European to have sight of Tasmania in 1642 named the island Van Diemens Land in honour of the Governor of the Dutch East India Company.

Katie Gilman 10597

Ann Haycock For the installation Mound, Haycock has transported from Cornwall, her collection of second hand clothes along with forty packets of cress seeds. She is interested in disturbing our sense of the norm, so instead of soil, the seeds will be planted in amongst the clothes. During the exhibition, Disruptive Narrative, Haycock will invite staff and students to water the heap of clothes thereby enabling the seeds to germinate and grow into a harvest of edible cress. The artist sees Mound as an interface between people and their reactions to the natural world. Through the care of an inanimate object, made from old clothes which have an unknown history, new life will spring forth, and in so doing, encourage a fresh exchange of ideas. Ann Haycock is interested in exploring various channels of communication and combining them with actions and reactions. She says that during daily life these activities often go unnoticed, but when singled out, they take on new and interesting meanings.

Carole Luby For ‘disrupted narratives’ at UEL the body comes alive and finds a temporary place in landscape. The journey, the persistent searching and longing; repetition and the unfulfilled desire for contact is still situated within the body depicting moments in time that represent change and transitions between memory and reality. My practice attempts to unravel accepted or familiar concepts about inner and outer worlds. Thus the work is a temporal site of rehearsal or potential where infinite solutions might yet be within my grasp whilst making an allowance for unforeseen events to change or challenge the nature of the work. You might call it a kind of alchemical process where my tentative and improvisational activity might emerge as an actualised artwork. Or, perversely it may demystify the practice by revealing the mess and uncertainty which precedes and is a part of the work itself.

Home sick

Sue Manchoulas Sue Manchoulas’ art seeks to engage with space and sight and sound, to navigate between art and music. Starting with a disjointed personal history, Sue seeks to recreate a sense of a disrupted narration from unrelated materials, including a 10 metre long graphic score, percussionist, Caz Wolfson, playing directly onto the paper manuscript, personal images and the building itself. Her work for Disrupted Narratives will be a performance piece, in which a narrative conversation emerges between, building, manuscript and percussionist. Ignoring the disruptions between the materials, and treating each material with equal narrative importance, the artist plans, by the use of structured improvisation and photos from the past, Sue and the percussionist will beat into submission, the artist’s story.

Yewande Okuleye In Disruptive Narratives Yewande Okuleye explores the notion of identity and belonging through two strands of enquiry. Hippocampus is an inward looking piece. The impetus for this work comes from anxieties about the reliability and validity of personal memory. How robust are our memories? Yewande Okuleye appropriates the visual language of neuroimaging and re – represents the subjectivities of memory for our meditation. Looking outwards and in a bid to restore this rupture Caritas attempts to reconnect with shared memories. Facebook is explored as a space to reconstruct memories and construct new narratives. Although anxieties about the precariousness of memory continue, it is assuaged as friends are invited to fill the gaps of forgetfulness. This act of participation is viewed as a gift, as friends are not obliged to participate. This is an on-going process as text generated from this participative process will be used to generate artwork.

Yewande Okuleye Hippocampus iii 2008

Hippocampus in conversation 2009

Disruptive narratives 2013  

In the summer of 2009,two artists Fiona Carson and Yewande Okuleye talk about the intersections, similarities in their art practice and deci...