Dwellings10 August 2015
Dependent Rational Animals is a collaborative project with painter Roxy Walsh. Our exhibitions examined the relationship between sculpture and painting and between a sculptor and a painter.
Paintings would sometimes be housed by sculptures and at other times would provide a backdrop or a landscape for them. As visitors navigated the large architectural sculptures, a previously unseen painting might be revealed and a partially obscured painting or wall drawing invited viewers to move through and around the spaces created with and between the sculptures. See more at underwoodwalsh.com/
Its trunk is a beam from an old Berlin apartment block, the branches are made from timber usually used as roofing slats. It forms a sparse shelter: a putative tree. At the finissage, people may sit under it.
A copy of a Berlin street bench, but bowed to face outwards, as on a circular seat that surrounds a tree.
The kind of shallow shelves that I use in the studio to set paintings-in-progress on. Some of the paintings on the shelves are square panels that are near to monochrome, others are more pictorial. The wall paintings are painting as a kind of architecture.
We had a tonne of engineering bricks for Outwith, our last show. Most of them have been stolen in the meantime, but there are still enough to sit on.
A Giant Egg
Its profile is Euclidian in shape and it sits precariously on a tripod-plinth. It has a mottled, matte surface. The scale of it is the same as the elephant bird egg. They were the largest birds that have ever existed. They are long extinct and lived only in Madagascar. When I went to Madagascar they sold replicas of the eggs in the market for 5 Euros. I bought one but when I got to the airport the customs called me in and said that they are real and must not be taken out of the country. Apart from feeling mortified with shame, I was also baffled as to how they could be real. The customs man said that the villagers find the egg fragments and stick them all together…
An essay by Simon Clark accompanies the artists’ work.
About the artists
Roxy Walsh and Sally Underwood met at Braziers International Artists’ Workshop in 2006 and have worked together since 2011. Their most recent exhibition was ‘Outwith’ at Art Exchange, University of Essex, in January 2015. They were shortlisted for the MAC International in 2014 and their exhibition ‘Dependent Rational Animals’, with a catalogue text by Anne Enright, was at Towner, Eastbourne, in 2013. ‘Without’ at Chandelier is their sixth exhibition together.
Roxy Walsh (born County Tyrone, 1964) attended Manchester Polytechnic. Her work was shortlisted for the John Moores Painting Prize in 2014. Recent solo shows include ‘Two Tongues Tied’, Leyden Gallery, London; ‘Body Language’, Galerie Peter Zimmerman, Mannheim and ‘The Lady Watercolourist’ at The MAC, Belfast.
Sally Underwood (born Berkshire, England, 1966) attended Chelsea School of Art and the Royal Academy, London. Recent exhibitions include ‘Time Being Time’, Leipzig (2012) and ‘Work, Essays and Observations’, Berlin (2011).
Dependent Rational Animals
Dependent Rational Animals
Posted on 19/06/2013
13 July – 22 September 2013
Consuming an entire gallery space, Dependent Rational Animals is an installation within an installation situating sculptures within paintings, and paintings within sculptures, by artists Sally Underwood and Roxy Walsh. In a play on scale and space, large-scale watercolour wall drawings become a backdrop for a towering timber-framed sculpture shingled with leather and a nine-sided igloo constructed from wood and wool. Within these soft shelters, smaller paintings can be looked at secretly and slowly, away from the open gallery.
Dependent Rational Animals is the first collaboration between Underwood and Walsh, that began in 2012 as IGLOO in the off-site programme of NN Contemporary Art Northampton, developed further for Globe Gallery in Newcastle, and has now evolved into its most ambitious iteration at Towner.
The artists are interested in how sculpture makes space for painting and how paintings hold the interior of a sculpture. Their concept draws on unusual displays of paintings in museums like the Sir John Soane Museum where works are mounted on moveable panels, or Isabella Stewart Gardiner Museum where paintings project at right angles from the walls. The title of the exhibition derives from a book of the same name by Alasdair MacIntyre who perceives vulnerability as a central feature of human life. The “virtues of dependency” that he sees as a necessity for individuals to flourish, are reflected in Underwood and Walsh’s collaborative working methods and the interdependence of the works in the show.
Sally Underwood is a sculptor who has exhibited in the UK and Europe including Gagosian Gallery, Sadlers’ Wells and Seventeen Gallery in London; and Station 21, Zurich. Roxy Walsh is a painter whose work has shown in the UK, Europe and the US including Galerie Peter Zimmerman, Mannheim; Annika Sundvik Gallery, New York; Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin and Milton Keynes Gallery. She has been awarded many residences and fellowships including in 2000 at the British School in Rome. Dependent Rational Animals is accompanied by a 32pp publication presenting the development of the project, with writing by novelist Anne Enright. It is available from mid- August.
Outwith is a collaboration between Sally Underwood and Roxy Walsh, between sculpture and painting.
Dwellings and small architectures have been central to Underwood and Walsh’s work: sculptures sitting in a painted scape, with paintings housed inside. At Art Exchange, ‘shelter’ or location is provided by a putative tree. Its exposed roots are bracketed by small walls of engineering brick and kindling, and the thin blue light of winter is echoed in watercolour above.
Each work makes space to look at another. You are invited to look outwards as well as inwards, and a previously blocked out window has been opened up again so that the great trees of the parkland are visible from the gallery once again. You are invited to sit – in front of the brick stack– and watch the work, not needing to move too far or too fast. Panel paintings rich in colour and surface are hung in a cluster, and the walls are marked and held with repetitive strokes of watercolour: image and metaphor are held at bay.