Daphne Wright: Antrum
Daphne Wright is an Irish born artist based in Bristol. Using a wide range of materials – plaster, tinfoil, video, printmaking, found objects and performance – she creates worlds that are beautiful and rather eerie and which feel like the threshold to somewhere new. For her solo exhibition Antrum in the James O’Driscoll Gallery, she has created four new unfired clay still-lifes to be displayed along side Sons, 2011, a pair of Jesmonite casts of the artist’s sons from the chest up, figures that are lifelike but not alive, they seem present but indifferent, already long gone. The new still life pieces have moved away from the uncanny precision of work like Sons. A potted cactus eases us into a false sense of semantic security. The ‘bottles’ suggest organic prototypes, as if an experiment to genetically engineer a familiar household object had gone awry. The instability of unfired clay adds to this feeling of flux, but their pallid wornness ages them like archaeological finds.
Two video works, If you broke me and I am the beginning are displayed in the same gallery, both show a solitary boy speaking in riddles to the camera. In each piece the child’ s face is painted; as a tiger in If You Broke Me and with a beard in I am the Beginning. Here, popular riddles are made strange, the monotony of each boy’s voice and their unblinking stare creates a heightened tension, and the riddles take on a different significance beyond that of simple childhood. This work explores the issues of guilt and love, life and loss that surround parenting and being a child.
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