Tomorrow marks the beginning of a five month programme of art exhibitions, commissions and residencies for London’s Flow Gallery, and it all kicks off with the opening of their site-specific exhibition, A Landscape of Objects, at Forde Abbey in South England. At this Grade 1 listed building and throughout its expansive gardens, five artists have been invited to make works inspired by the presence of water that flows throughout the grounds. With several large ponds and the highest powered water fountain in England, this location owes much of its beauty to water, and given carte blanch by curator Yvonna Demczynska, each artist has responded to this natural power in a completely different medium.
It makes perfect sense that UK basket weaver Anne Marie O’Sullivan would make work for this project, having originally trained as a swimmer before coming to basketweaving full time. After talking to Selvedge in issue 74 about the rhythmic connections between weaving an swimming, for this exhibition she has worked with long-term collaborator and partner Tom McWalter to create a series of woven sculptures that mimic the rolling peaks and troughs of ocean waves throughout the lawns of Forde House Gardens.
‘The first time I wove with willow it was like swimming underwater,’ Anne Marie tells Selvedge, ‘it’s all about flow.’ Drenched in the show’s rural context, Anne Marie’s work is all about place, and fellow exhibitors Eleanor Lakelin and Vezzini and Chen are not far behind in their approaches either. Eleanor Lakelin’s work resembles sea urchins that have been eroded by water, leaving smooth flowing circular movements on their surface, and for this show she has created a series of forms in wood, reflecting the shapes and textures in the landscape of Forde Abbey.
Similarly, Vezzini and Chen’s collaborative work is inspired by the structure and geometry of natural forms. Combining fluid forms with intricate detail, repetition, texture and geometry, their work too is characterised by the repetition of organic forms. Alongside this exhibition, artists Kaori Tatebayashi and Katie Spragg will also be taking up residency onsite in advance of their exhibition launching next September. For now, however, this programme is off to a promising start.
A Landscape of Objects, 16 June - 27 October 2017
Forde Abbey and Gardens, Chard, Somerset, TA20 4LU
Photography by Alun Callender