Exhibitions

Slowdown

Jane Wilbraham
2 September - 8 October 2011
Private view: Thursday 1 September, 6-9pm

Hales Gallery is delighted to present Slowdown, a third solo project by British Sculptor, Jane Wilbraham.

Wilbraham's show at Hales in 2000 On the Road, included sculptural works which made use of printed text and imagery, meticulously cut and reassembled from street market sourced cardboard fruit and vegetable packaging. These earlier artworks teased out the global links and relationships between the transportation and consumption of foodstuffs, but they also mapped her journeys across London through a poetic mnemonic of shop names and signs.

Wilbraham's 2008 exhibition, Ignoble Rot presented the viewer with large scale observational watercolours of collected objects from journeys that Wilbraham had made in the course of her daily life, presenting the artist's experience of 'environment' as a series of constantly shifting human-thrown, wind-blown accumulations .

Slowdown brings together three years of Wilbraham's intimately scaled wood carvings made in Sycamore, alongside a new series of watercolours.

Wilbraham has deliberately and determinedly slowed the creative process in an attempt to fuse the making and thinking process, with the pieces featured in this show having been achieved through a self-consciously time consuming and labour intensive approach.

Since 2009, Sycamore has become an important material for Wilbraham. It is cut from trees that are associated with cities and urban waste ground as much as with the open field or mixed wood and can easily be found as prolifically self-seeded saplings on land near her South London studio. The objects are worked by hand with knives and chisels, showing little evidence of mechanised tools in their construction. Additionally, some of the objects feature pyrography (poker-work) surfaces or details.

Wilbraham subverts the vernacular history of Sycamore as a wood used for making kitchen utensils and basic, utilitarian domestic tools (and sometimes traditional Love Spoons) to articulate an altogether more subversive agenda: that of class uprisings, the angry mob and the human consequences of the overwhelming power of capital . This is all done with lightness of hand and by small adjustments and articulation of a growing lexicon of motifs.

Wilbraham's watercolour studies of stones, rubble, wooden stakes and sharpened sticks partially stripped of their bark suggest an alternative potentiality to objects that could easily be viewed as merely a collection of natural objects retrieved from a woodland walk.

Wilbraham's practice can be located in a loose tradition of artists such as the Scottish artist/poet Ian Hamilton Finlay, and the American artists H.C. Westermann and Lee Bontecou. Though from very different backgrounds, all three used drawing and sculptural manifestations (and text in the case of Finlay and Westermann) to create a bridge between the symbolic and the real, which is central to Wilbraham's work.

Jane Wilbraham lives and works in London. Upcoming exhibitions include Labor and Wait, a group show at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art in 2013. Also recently Wilbraham's work has been included in The Freedom Center 'This show will change your life' at Hales Gallery and New Acquisitions Exhibition, at the Prints and Drawings department at the British Museum. Wilbraham's work is included in various private and public collections in Britain and American including the International Collage Center, Milton PA, the British Museum, UBS, Fidelity, C12 and Exeter College, Oxford University.