'She Smiles Like a River - A Personal Cosmology' - Kay Wood
Reappearing in this new body of work by Wood are artefacts she gathered up from her family’s farm in the south-west many years ago. They were first admitted to her practice as an investigation into the structural narrative of her own life story, occasioned by what she felt was an ‘absence’ in her work at the time. Their functional reality was picked apart to reveal immaterial and metaphysical value residing within. This current work is an array of autonomous abstract arrangements involving paintings, and various other forms, objects and materials. All parts are interchangeable, made independently of each other and only find their relationships on installation of the work in the gallery. Clusters called ‘Asterisms’ refer loosely to patterns of stars that exist relatively within formal constellations – they also reference Wood’s many nights spent star-gazing on the family farm.
Simple still life paintings engage with the quotidienne, with disregard for received ideas on ‘how’ things are supposed to look or technical virtuosity, instead there is an attempt at faithfully expressing the feeling or spirit of the present object. Her paintings of sloppy squares and rectangular shapes allow each area of colour to call forth the next, in the absence of any design. Wood repeated such works daily during a time of contraction in her practice. In essence they were an exercise in discovering not ‘what’ to paint, but why – a prosaic response to a metaphysical question. They, and the message they delivered to her remain as small totemic reminders of being and becoming by remaining present in the face of impermanence and change.
Throughout her practice, in general, words are eschewed, materiality is embraced, and vision expanded in a psycho-physical expedition. Wood trawls through the archives of her life, mixing and matching as dictated by relationships between the parts now in their new arrangements. The scraps and detritus Wood drags in from the past are paralleled in daily studio practice – bits of leftover canvas, cardboard pieces and so on are not wasted but find their place within her abstract arrangements where there is an equity of expression from all parts of the process of making anew. Time becomes less relevant in these new spaces; themselves amalgamations of motifs and spatial relationships – new worlds. In this ‘improvisational slipstream’ there is complete freedom from structural historical narratives of self and tradition, anything can and will be admitted, if it fits. In the words of Duchamp, art can be anything. It isn’t an object or even an image, it’s an activity of the spirit.
No more pages to load