Gatheringby Polly Leonard
Gathering is a major new site-specific work by artist Susie MacMurray to be installed at Tatton Park. MacMurray is known for her large-scale immersive installations that combine meticulous detail with a sense of spectacle and drama. Here thousands of individual elements of red velvet and barbed wire are suspended in Tatton Park’s grand rotunda to create a performative space that draws the viewer in.
MacMurray’s work often reflects on the nature of memories, mortality, loss and our physical bodies. In Gathering, each individual element suggests the imperfection of the body as the artist reflects on her own relationship with death and the precariousness of life. The work is in part a response to her husband’s death from cancer and the many elements that make up the work have been made by MacMurray in collaboration with volunteers from East Cheshire Hospice.
Materials are essential to MacMurray’s practice as she subverts and transforms commonplace objects into something other, making the familiar unfamiliar. Her direct use of everyday materials creates a visceral intensity allowing the viewer to access the work without boundaries. Here crimson silk velvet is combined with reclaimed military barbed wire. The velvet has been sewn into thousands of uneven spheres with each velvety sphere seemingly impaled by a sliver of wire. Past works have been made with an eclectic range of materials - pins, feathers, washing up gloves, violin bow hair, shells and 50 calibre bullets. Gathering with its contrasting materials suggests duality from the luxurious bodily velvet with its associations of beauty and fragility to the barbed wire with its vestiges of conflict and pain.
28 June - 6 October 2019, Tatton Park, Cheshire, UK