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Marks of Time
2019

My commission for Halsway Manor, National Centre for Folk Arts, looked into the human history of the house and grounds. Exploring memories through old photographs from Halsway's archives, and thinking about how the moments and patterns of a place stay with us yet distort in our memory.

 

On my site visit to Halsway I found the location for my site-specific piece very intriguing, always fascinated by working with unusual spaces and surfaces.


The space, a painted up window in a corridor, made me immediately curious about the shadows that were cast from the window frame. I decided they would be used as an indicator for where the piece would take form on the panes and frame. Fragments of memories collecting in the shadows.

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For this project I looked through Halsway's archives of old photographs, adverts, schedules and letters - revealing the rich human history of repeat visitors and community in and around this beautiful house.

One particular part of Halsway’s past that stood out to me was the time of Frances Gair Wilkinson, a previous owner of Halsway who returned the building to a place of arts and creativity, establishing the house as a centre for Visual Arts.


Frances became the owner of Halsway in 1962 and was the last private owner. She had been given an eccentric upbringing, with her father painting and making puppets. As a family they had taken their marionette theatre around the country in a gypsy caravan, performing plays for people. Frances's mother and Frances herself also painted and I was pleased to make my site visit to Halsway during an exhibition of the families work. The distinct way Frances had painted trees, to me almost like they had an underwater quality, was something that stayed vividly in my mind, influencing my piece to intertwine trees inspired by those paintings I had encountered.

 

My piece included image transfers of black and white photographs from the 1930s up to the 1980s. Including visitors engaging in the folk arts - playing music, dancing - but also the in between moments eating lunch, posing for photographs and being a part of the community of Halsway. The image transfers onto the wall are displayed as fragments of time, some more visible than others, some overlapping, some distorted, intertwined with drawings. The drawings borrow from imagery found in the photographs, from vivid imagery to abstracted speckles of painting, and shapes and patterns found in Halsway’s architecture and interiors. The memories of people activity interlinked with the fabric of the building.

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