Works by Kate MccGwire, Zara Carpenter, Tessa Farmer & Kerry Howley
24 October 2014 – 3 January 2015
Rochester Art Gallery
This exhibition brings together the work of four artists who all explore notions of beauty and alienation, attraction and repulsion and the otherworldly in their use of materials and form.
The works of acclaimed artist Kate MccGwire use the language of natural materials to attract and repel in equal measure. Her feathered sculptures have a constant sense of ‘otherness’ to them, at once seducing and disturbing the viewer with their strange familiarity. This abject beauty is integral to MccGwire’s practice, where bodily forms reference both the beauty of the natural world and its darker undercurrents. For this exhibition MccGwire will be showing several pieces including ‘Sluice’ a remarkable floor installation made of 4000 feathers.
Medway based artist and milliner Zara Carpenter will be showing her first major sculptural work ‘Persephone’ which explores the acceptance of ones own mortality and the ageing process and the desire to leave something beautiful behind. The work uses gathered and found objects including silk flowers, birds wings and insects to investigate themes of metamorphosis.
Kerry Howley is a contemporary jewellery artist fascinated by the power materials have to influence the wearers emotional response and particularly how these can be conflicting. She uses familiar forms yet works with materials that both fascinate, attract and repulse, turning discarded hair into exquisite yet unsettling adornment.
Tessa Farmer creates intricate miniature fairy sculptures made from insect carcasses, plant roots and other found natural materials. Microscopic battles between insects and tiny winged skeletal humanoids are both sinister and bewitching and offer a glimpse of an apocalyptic microscopic underworld.
An exquisite selection of artefacts including seldom seen Victorian mourning and hair jewellery has been kindly loaned by the Guildhall Museum from their collections as part of the exhibition.
Medway based artist Cormac McManigan who’s work is inspired by nature, is showing two stag beetle pieces for the show, carved and cast in bronze and made specially for the exhibition, the pieces are displayed in antique specimen drawers and can also be worn as jewellery.