Shelved at Gallery S O

A new body of work by David Clarke and Tracey Rowledge.
Shelved resulted from a one year residency at the Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery. 7 – 30 September 2018
Please join us for the opening on Thursday 6 September 2018 from 6 – 9 pm

Gallery S O

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Many of us want to know more about an object that we own, perhaps how it was made and its value. Museums sometimes help the public to identify their possessions and when artists Tracey Rowledge and David Clarke arrived at Tunbridge Wells Museum & Art Gallery in 2016 to start their one-year residency, they found boxes of “Unclaimed Enquiries”. These were artefacts that had been sent in for identification by members of the public but never reclaimed: objects existing in a kind of limbo, not part of the museum collection but unable to be legally disposed of. The discovery affected Clarke and Rowledge powerfully and in this project they decided to make new lives for other ‘shelved’ objects which they collected from local charity shops.

In their wider artistic practice, David Clarke and Tracey Rowledge are fascinated by the role objects play in our lives, how familiar objects can become strange and the strange become familiar. They are interested in how the passage of time affects the way we relate to things and how context can change the way we value objects. The trust that they have in each other from previous collaborations enabled them to challenge each other to remodel the found objects and to coax out different meanings through their artistic interventions.

In the resulting seven groups of related objects they question inherent material and aesthetic values: not seeking to beautify but to make us, as visitors, think harder about what we are looking at. Sometimes there is a divergence in material values which shocks. These are not ‘ready-mades’ moved from a charity shop to the gallery. Instead, through intelligent making the found objects are treated like raw materials, which still carry traces of meaning from their former lives.

Re-presented here for Gallery SO are the seven groups which were first shown in Tunbridge Wells Museum, Library and Adult Education Centre: Landed Gentry, Limbo, Lost Souls, Housed, Still Life, Shelved, and Greetings From Tunbridge Wells.

Louise Taylor, August 2018

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