Making Connections

It was Lisa Jacques, education officer at The City Gallery, Leicester who made the connection and my piece ‘Mesh ‘ was the catalyst. 'Mesh' by Sue Lawty. Autumn 2005 and The City Gallery was about to host an exhibition by the artist Jo Fairfax, who had developed a virtual reality artwork ‘Dream Time’. This consisted of a series of dreamlike worlds accessed through a virtual reality headset, which could generate sensations of weightlessness and flight as if moving within a dream. “… participant can move from one world to another by moving through invisible teleporters. Each world has a very different atmosphere … the sound and vision changes according to a person’s individual journey …” I conceived Mesh as a kind of drawing in space. Intrigued by the unique marks found when isolating a single element from its natural surrounding, I wanted to take these drawings one step further ‐ off the gesso and into space ‐ so that the three dimensionality of each element could be defined and celebrated by the air around it ‐ the inherent language revealed more purely. Ideally, I would have magiced them all to hang in mid air. (I’m working on that one.) In the meantime, I used invisible thread and at each intercise of the vertical and horizontal, I knotted in a single piece of coral. The resulting ‘fabric’ is then a series of floating marks which, when seen against a white background become virtually invisible. As the piece is approached, it suddenly pops into focus, a little bit like a spider’s web might. Focal length wavers between the curtain of coral fragments and whatever can be seen between the coral. It was this ambiguity/ sense of portal, which Lisa saw in gallery 101 at the V&A, which prompted her to invite me to run a creative workshop in February 2006 in response to Jo Fairfax’s work. This, in turn, has led me to make connections within my work and subsequent conversations with Jo have exposed common ground between both our works ‐ the virtual stuff and the real stuff. Another dialogue, another ‘space in between’. Screen shot 'still' taken from Jo Fairfax's virtual reality artwork 'self portrait' - Click to enlarge Participant's work created during the workshop, February 2006 - Click to enlarge Participant's work created using coloured sweet wrappers, used stamps, plastic straws etc. - Click to enlarge Participant's work using just one element - young eucalyptus leaves - Click to enlarge Participant's work using single element - Click to enlarge Shadow drawing from participant's work - Click to enlarge