Anne Ffrench and Julia Pallone: The Hawk and The House
A two-person exhibition of photography, video, sculpture, drawing and installation by Anne Ffrench and Julia Pallone.
Over the past two years, Anne Ffrench and Julia Pallone shared a studio at Uillinn over a three part residency, during which a new body of work has emerged. Their work shares a similar aesthetic and sensibilities and has developed around the notion of passage. The intangible passage of time for Anne, and a passage linked to geography and symbols for Julia. The work of both artists touches on the idea of archetypes: a primitive mental image inherited from the earliest human ancestors and supposed to be present in the collective unconscious. Also common in their practice is a love of materials; feather, clay, wool and milk are seen juxtaposed here in film, photography and physical objects. Materials are always on their way to becoming something else in an ongoing metamorphosis.
Julia Pallone’s Sentinels investigates the animals seen on entrance pillars of the gates of houses, bungalows and cottages in West Cork. Since she moved to Ireland, those creatures have always intrigued her: they mix a sense of kitsch with the statuary, they sometimes look enigmatically decrepit and strange, half finished. As guardsmen, they seem to watch, look and keep an eye on those who pass. Do they symbolically protect the house, or do they reveal the inner and hidden essence of the place? Do they materialise a passage, or are they reminiscent of a forgotten link to nature?
For this exhibition, through drawing, photography and sculptural installation, Julia explores the symbolic nature of gateways and totems, the ideas of shelter/home/protection/body and the notion of territory. The human body – as the ultimate shelter – may also be protected by totems or sentinels: this is envisaged through her work on ceramic collars. Similarly, floating houses – houses, this time understood as the symbol of protection – somehow uprooted and showing improbable outgrowth, may reveal inner doubts and anxieties; but they could also express the need for protection, the need for the security of a home.
Anne Ffrench’s work is steeped in the experience of pregnancy and the role of motherhood. The bird of prey becomes metaphor, a trained hawk is never tame but retains its instincts to return to the wild. In this exhibition, Anne reconnects to her primordial self. Ritual, creation, transformation, altered states, and the changing of forms translates into performative video, alongside physical sculpture in varied materials. Ffrench’s practice is intuitive and the work reveals itself through a play with materials and objects. Making becomes a process of correspondence, juxtapositioning of materials creates a dialogue between them. Ffrench connects to a universal experience of motherhood and strives to achieve an unexpected newness from this familiar territory.
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