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Ouija

  • Lindsey Bull
  • Charlie Franklin

Friday 16 May 2014
7-9pm

Exhibition | 17–31 May 2014 | 12-6 pm

Ouija has developed through on going discussion between Lindsey Bull and Charlie Franklin around the common influence of nature and the supernatural within their work. Through the exhibition the artists interrogate these boundaries, exploring ways in which the tangible spills over into the realm of the spiritual and incorporeal.

Considering the presence of ritual and alchemical action in their working processes, Bull and Franklin employ imagery and material that are at once figurative and atypical, commonplace and ambiguous. Through this contradiction they explore an ‘in-between’ state; a psychological slippage and visceral physical encounter.

The exhibition takes its title from a 1957 poem by Sylvia Plath, who herself took an interest in the paranormal, in which she describes the tangling and descending of the skies into a ‘marriage with the mire’. Ouija forms a dialogue between works by Bull and Franklin, based primarily in painting and sculpture respectively, and marks a collaborative experiment within the shifting domain that Plath articulates in her portrayal of fantastical aura within natural phenomena.

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Lindsey Bull (b. Hereford, 1979) explores perceptions of reality and illusion through her practice, investigating fragmentary instances where the real merges with the fantastical. Her work engages with historical practices that evoke spiritual, ritualistic or psychedelic perception. Drawing from a lexicon of imagery surrounding witchcraft and cults, her paintings often depict figures enveloped by spaces that feel simultaneously familiar and unreal, like undulating forms. The subjects are often masked, hooded or concealed in some form and perform undefined movements that merge into a rhythm of brush strokes. Bull’s figures are often submerged into the darkness that surrounds them, resulting in inconclusive and fragmentary images that rest between the seen and unseen.

Bull graduated from Manchester School of Art in 2001 and gained a Postgraduate Diploma and MA in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art and Design, London in 2009. Lindsey was awarded the Brenda Landon Pye Prize in 2009 and was the 2011 recipient of the Red Mansion Prize, through which she undertook a painting residency in China. She was a further prize winner at the Motorcade/FlashParade National Open in 2011, and was shortlisted for the Griffin Art Prize in 2012. Group exhibitions include L’Heure des Socières, Centre d’art Contemprain de Quimper, France, 2014; Masques, Galerie d’YS, Brussels & Transition gallery, London, 2014; Creekside Open (Selected by Paul Noble), APT gallery, London 2013 and Heavens to Murgatroyd! UAL Arts gallery, London, 2011. Solo exhibitions include In Disguise, High House Gallery, Oxford, 2012; Darkling, Motorcade/FlashParade, Bristol, 2012 and Out of the Cosmic Storm, Transition gallery, London 2012. Bull lives and works in Manchester, UK.

Charlie Franklin (b. 1983) makes sculptures using a range of materials and found objects, which are often selected for their ambiguous qualities and transmutability. Traces of physical impression and sculptural process are important to the artist, who questions her own control in the making process. As a result her manipulation of the materials strikes a fragile balance with the individual properties they possess. This sense of tension also appears in the dualities of deterioration and preservation, nature and the man-made and seduction and repulsion that are contained in the work. Franklin investigates these polarities, making forms that are ritualistically edited and placed, but often remain awkward and vulnerable. Her work is often theatrical and can appear to be the remains of an unexplained occurrence; an alchemical deposit, an archaeological by-product, or an ambiguous specimen.

Franklin completed her BA in Fine Art at Middlesex University in 2005 gained an MA in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art and Design, London, in 2008. Recent exhibitions include Other Structures, London, PITV, Stockholm, and Encyclopedia Galatica, London. In 2011 she had two solo exhibitions; Inland at The Dunwich Museum, Suffolk and Mushrooms Like Lace at Motorcade/FlashParade, Bristol. She is one of the winners of The Whitechapel Gallery East End Academy Studio Prize, 2010, and was awarded an artist’s residency to Iceland at the Hafnarborg Centre of Culture and Fine Art in 2012. Franklin lives and works in London, UK.