Friday, 1 May 2015

'Zentools (Fools Gold Is Precious Too)' by Fiona McCubbins & David Hanes at Seventeen!

Fiona McCubbins graduated from Grays School of Art in 2014 and has spent the last year exploring different practices and themes. Her latest exhibition, a collaboration with David Hanes see's Fiona's work eveolve and morph into new areas and new materials. Enetitled 'Zentools (Fools Gold Is Precious Too' the show combines almost ritualistic objects with other pieces showing geometric patterns and assembled geometric video montages.

Fiona was kind enough to do an interview about the show and her work which you can read below and I've made a short video trying to capture the work as it stood in Seventeen. Anyone who refrences Douglas Coupland is alright in my book!

So could you tell me a little bit about your work and how the show came about?

The exhibition Zentools (fools gold is precious too) was representation of a continued dialogue between myself David Hanes and Sarah Watson. This dialogue began on Toronto Island, in June 2014 where I spent time as an artist in residence at Artscape Gibraltar point.

Hanes and myself discovered a shared interest in the ritualistic process of material experimentation and a desire to explore the meditative functions within ornamentation.

Sounds pretty cool. The exhibition contains a lot of objects created from different materials, what was the process like for choosing these materials and working with them?

I am interested in relationship and exchange; the relationship between light and perception, and the exchange of energy, words and thought. I wanted to create a slurred conflation of truth and illusion.

I have an interest in the performative nature of 'dousing', a pseudo-scientific practices and belief systems which is driven purely by intuition and sensory impulse. This led me to recreate these Y and L shaped apparatus originally constructed from organic matter as imagined artefacts, equally as ornamental and instrumental.

While on a residency at Scottish Sculpture workshop I discovered  traditional techniques within Blacksmithing to create a series of 6 forged steel dousing rods. I found this process lends itself to be very intuitive, mirroring its function. 

The work is titled 'To be led down the garden path' in which there is a flirtation between the romantic and the cynical, in a constant yet contented battle between logic and feeling.

Yeah I had an interesting conversation recently about dousing methods and its legitimacy, I was suprised as not that many people are aware of it nowadays. The metal dousing rods reaffirm the contrast in your work also bringing a cold, hard material which has to be processed and created these quite rough objects but they also hold a beauty in their shape and also their finish. I guess the almost polar opposite to these is the small ceramic shapes you made. Could you tell me a little bit about them and the process behind them?

The porcelain Möbius Strips! This form is a surface with only one side and only one boundary. If an ant were to crawl along the length of this strip, it would return to its starting point having traversed the entire length of the strip (on both sides) without ever crossing an edge. I wanted to use stoneware porcelain as it has certain qualities to the material such as toughness and translucency yet has a delicate fragility. 

The work was titled 'Recurving'. The term, taken from the novel 'Generation X' by Douglas Coupland, meaning to leave one job to take another that pays less but places one back on the learning curve.

Wow. Generation X was one of those books which effected me when I read it and I've been a huge fan of his work ever since! I like the idea of the infinity aspect to the mobius strips, infinity being a word that makes me think of the huge and yet the mobius strips are small and delicate.

With regards to David's work how do you feel your pieces sit together, is there a crossing of boundaries and how do you view the show overall?

When I think about the infinite it is a reminder we are all small and somewhat insignificant. But, I take comfort in this as it prompts me to recurve.

David has an expanded sculptural approach to his practice, focusing on the architecture of the internet and digital forms of communicating. He contemplates the effects of distorted truths and the nature of expression, with a meditative approach to form and abstraction he investigates the calibration of online/offline relationships and the resulting visual theatre.

David' constructs meditative video collages in which movement an passivity coexist in constructive tension. 'Untitled or Something That Always Stays With You And That Will Always Remind You And That You Can Always Count On (against stagnation)' is a single channel video comprised of footage both shot on an iPhone and high definition SLRs.

The work sits comfortably together in aesthetic form, and there is certainly a shared indulgence in the illusionistic and transcendental potential of repetition and symmetry.

Certainly when I went down to see the show I took me a bit of time to figure out who did what as the show fitted together so well. What sort of role did (ill insert her name forgot it) play in bringing things together and the curation process?

Sarah had prior contexts to both of our work and she therefore could provide some kind of 
connection and insight into the development of both of our practices. I suppose it began as 
a very casual dialogue and progressed from there, bringing her to write the exhibition text.