The Split Kingdom

Certain motifs recur in these small works, subtly changing, half reappearing, as if they are not so much instances of the same things as memories of those instances. Figures emerge – from rooms, landscapes, other figures – involved in mysterious or impossible tasks, fighting their way through dense fogs produced in the fluidity and plenitude of media (ink, paint, gouache, pencil, collage, print).

These works suggest dreams mostly, glimpses into a destabilised interior. And as in dreams, odd domestic details impinge – a dog, a hat, a balcony – their miscuings inverting their familiarity: banalities become too large, interrupted by suggestions of sexuality or damaged naivety; the beginnings of maps fail, loop back to their source coordinates; there are machines of uncertain purpose, implausible rooms – all the narratives of collapse, only reconstructable through wayward techniques of intuition.

There are threads of stories to pick up, definitive indications, but they soon lose their way, buckling, refusing to go along with the business of verification of the continuum of the tale. If the threads were signs at all, they were signs of exhaustion, refusal.  These small, fluid, uncertain portrayals of the world do not want to resolve into fixed concept or form. They are against imposition, against the master narrative, against any kind of determined telling. But even as hesitant effervescences issuing from privacy, their existence implies some attempt at control, if only to render a wordless, reflexive language; if only to loosely contain and order symbols. And it is on these slivers that the Kingdom enacts its splitting.


Tara Cranswick 2008 

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