Ella Wearing and Frances Lightbound are UK-born artists who have been residing in the US for the past three years - Frances in Chicago, and Ella in New Jersey and New York. Centering upon a shared interest in notions of the façade - as it relates to appearance, perception and reality, as well as in the architectural sense - this exhibition shows recent sculptural, installation, and lens-based works by each artist, as well as works on paper. Having previously collaborated in 2014 on a three person show in London, in which they explored connections between their immediate urban environments of London and Glasgow respectively, the two artists come together to find new points of conversation amongst their approaches to urban space in their specific, but potentially disparate, locations.
On recent trips back to London in 2017, Ella Wearing has been re-engaging with her home neighbourhood, which has featured as a point of research in previous work. She seeks to grapple with memories of home amidst ferocious urban change, and begins to look further back into the rich local history of her neighbourhood, and the personal and public monuments that have survived - namely a 151 foot Victorian clock tower that stands at the centre of it all. Ella’s interpretation of her surroundings often unfolds into artworks that play on a kind of visual ‘collapsing’ of two and three dimensional space, where pictorial and sculptural methods become muddled. Her work is suggestive of the relationship in architecture between two dimensional rendering and three dimensional outcome. She is interested in how the structural and aesthetic ‘flats’ that encase architectural volume, such as walls, ceilings, floors and façades, act as coded signifiers within a particular social landscape.
Frances Lightbound’s work examines objects, structures and materials that effect and enforce divisions of space with varying degrees of subtlety – barriers, fences, thresholds, window shades. Remaking, fragmenting and shifting the context of these familiar forms, she produces two- and three- dimensional work that employs degrees of abstraction to encourage multiple associations while retaining a critical subtext. Her work is driven by an interest in the spatial, social and linguistic roles of objects and structures: how elements of a built environment produce space in both the physical and psychological senses of the word, and how these objects materialize (and support the functioning of) more abstract systems such as law, capital and property ownership. Recent works combine domestic references with those drawn from urban space, introducing elements of uncertainty to delineations between personal and public spaces and considering the varying degrees of agency we may or may not have over our surroundings.