Our House of Common Weeds
Friday 27 October 6-9pm preview feat. performance by Alys North + afterparty 9-11pm with DJ set by Bizarro World
Friday 24 November 6-11pm closing event feat. performance by Carl Gent + karaoke with live link-up to The Bowling Green pub in Wigan
Exhibition open 28 October – 25 November 2017, Wed-Sat 12-6pm or by appointment
Verity Birt (London, UK), Fourthland (London, UK), Carl Gent (London, UK), Anna FC Smith (Wigan, UK), Andrea Williamson (Montreal, Canada).
Curated by Nathalie Boobis
Our House of Common Weeds is a group exhibition curated by Nathalie Boobis for Res. featuring new work by artists Verity Birt, Fourthland, Carl Gent, Anna FC Smith & Andrea Williamson. It is the result of an eighteen month process of collaborative research into knowledge and ideas ravaged in the path of progress but still latent within stories, rituals, our bodies and the landscape. The artworks within Our House of Common Weeds suggest a constellation of other possible futures built with the disenfranchised wisdom from the realms of female, folk and indigenous cultures, prehistory, the ‘irrational’ and the non-human.
The forms of collaboration through which each artist has developed their ideas are directly reflective of the content of the work. Verity Birt’s sound, video and sculptural pieces exploring feminine mythologies, collectivity and prehistoric rock art have been realised through vocal workshops with Newcastle-based women’s choir, SHE, at Lordenshaw Channel and Roughting Lynn, Neolithic sites in Northumberland. Carl Gent’s folkloric well sculpture is the result of long term research into the fictions and mythologies of the Mercian Queen Cynethryth, the Victorian explorer Kate Marsden and conversations with the storytelling duo, Sheaf+Barley. Fourthland’s installation evoking a domestic scenario of matriarchal reign results from workshops with Xenia, an English language and friendship group for migrant women learning English and English-speaking women in Hackney, London. Anna FC Smith’s festive sculpture, video and sound work on the collective potential of communal intoxication, singing and revelry has been developed in collaboration with regular karaoke-goers at The Bowling Green pub in Wigan and its landlady Nancy Jones. Andrea Williamson’s large scale watercolour and pencil dreamscapes are developed in collaboration with the public archive of Canadian endangered species and the online dream-sharing community, r/Dreams.
The works in the exhibition bear traces of lived experience that the artists have identified as potent ingredients for other possible futures. Our House of Common Weeds proposes the aesthetic experience of the artworks as a set of tools for activating disenfranchised knowledge and interrupting the singular version of the future that is currently unfolding.
A limited edition zine featuring aspects of the research process, an essay by the curator and contributions by each of the exhibiting artists will be available to buy from Res. at the opening and throughout the duration of the exhibition.
Image: Verity Birt, Deformation Attends Her (film still), 2017
Verity Birt is a London based artist whose practice questions conceptions of time and historical narratives, often collaborating with archaeologists, scientists and historians. Her video, sound,
sculptural and recently also performance works tend towards dramatising fragments of pre-history, myth and mystery in order to create disruptions in the master narrative. Recent exhibitions include Relics from the De-Crypt, Gossamer Fog London (2017); Chemhex Extract, Peacock Visual Arts, Aberdeen (2016); Feeling Safer, IMT Gallery, London (2016); WTF: Where’s the Flux?, Focal Point Gallery Big Screen, Southend on Sea (2016). She was also a recipient of the Connect/Exchange Residency | BALTIC & The Newbridge Project – Newcastle, May – July 2017.
Fourthland (Louise Sayarer and Eva Knutsdotter) is a London-based artist collective that uses objects, ritual, storytelling and enactment to co-create public space and performances. Recent exhibitions and projects BearMotherHouse with Xenia at SPACE, London (2017); Permissible Notations of with Rosalind Fowler at PEER, London (2017); The Storm within Jeremy Deller’s Utopia Treasury, Somerset House, London (2016); back to where we have not quite been, Arnolfini, Bristol (2015); The Collective Tongue, Errant Bodies, Berlin; and everything happens on the street, PEER, London (2015). They have had recent residencies at CASS School of Art and Design, London (2016) and Cabot Institute of Climate Change, Bristol.
Carl Gent is an artist, writer and musician from Bexhill-on-sea, UK. Gent’s practice is based around the creation of other possible worlds, pieced together from fragments of the past found in history and folklore. They create sculptures, installations, drawings, writing and rituals that give form and narrative to past mythologies and call for their consideration as possible futures. Recent exhibitions, performances and writings include The Political Animal, The Showroom, London; Multiplex, KELDER, London, UK; I’d Do This All Day If I Could, PEER, London; Thinking Ecology Through my Fairphone 2, Archipelago #4; and Wiðercwedolu þá Glésincga, The Residence Gallery, London.
Anna FC Smith is an artist based in Wigan with a research-based practice centred around identifying the persistence of precapitalist forms of communality and ritual within the contemporary moment. Her drawings, embroideries, sculptures, video and sound work often draw on ethnographic methods to engage with popular culture and assert overlooked value. Recent projects and exhibitions include Research commission and touring exhibition with The Doc Rowe Archive (upcoming touring exhibition); Ultra: A State of Mind, The Old Courts, Wigan (2017); The Last Bound Sheaf, WASPS, Glasgow (2016); Purring – Sport of the People, Gallery Oldham (2016); Hear My Voice and Answer Me, Swiss Church, London (2015); BURPOLOGY: Harry Hill’s TV Burp as Carnival, Coningsby Gallery, London (2013).
Andrea Williamson is an artist based in Montreal, Canada, whose work tackles the persistence of nature, instinct and a sensory engagement of the work beneath the surface of contemporary society. Working with watercolour, stitching, sculpture and installation she excavates the gap between what culture gives and what we need, trying to find ways out in the least obvious places. Recent exhibitions include Cacotopia, Annka Kultys Gallery, London (2017); Green Idol, Cosmos Carl, www.cosmoscarl.co.uk (2016); #magichour, Area 51, London (2015); The Immortal Maker, Pith Gallery, Alberta, Canada (2014).
Nathalie Boobis is a London-based curator. Alongside her independent practice she works as Artist Commissions Coordinator for SPACE, London and Junior Fellow for Goldsmiths CCA, London. Her current curatorial research is focussed on the potentials of art to give form to alternative futures drawn from suppressed pasts. Independent curatorial projects include Our House of Common Weeds, Res., London (2017); The Future is a Collective Project, various locations (ongoing); Green Ray, Enclave, London (2016) Hear My Voice and Answer Me, The Swiss Church, London (2015); and equals, BLANKSPACE, Manchester (2013).