Behind the Curtain II at Gallery 106 - 2017

Behind The Curtain Upstairs 2017Behind The Curtain Downstairs 2017

I recreated my Behind the Curtain installation for a solo show at Gallery 106 in 2017. This was an opportunity for me to expand on the experimental piece Behind the Curtain I, 2014 created in my studio

At Gallery 106 I was able to install this work over 2 floors. Giving the impression of the cloth on the ground floor of the gallery going through the floor and cascading out of the ceiling into the basement and spreading out organically onto the floor space. The artwork created on both floors contained a space of infinite folds, of colour. My intention was to absorb and engage the viewer in the space that was apart from everyday life. Recreating a childhood space of playing hide and seek behind the curtain. Allowing the viewer to go back to a more innocent simplistic place a rest from the stresses of modern life. (These ideas are explained further in my dissertation, which can be downloaded here.)

I named these pieces Upstairs and Downstairs to highlight their differences. The work on the ground floor is basked in sunlight from the large window and contained the majestic sweeping folds of a curtain meant for a theatre or a rich ladies boudoir.

The downstairs piece in the basement did not have any daylight. The folds were more vertical and practical looking, the colour stripe like. It also spread untidily onto the floor, where the colour faded. This was like a practical curtain the servant’s part of the house. However, this did not diminish its power and richness or indicate that to be below stairs is demeaning.

These two pieces of work had a unity and related to each other. Yet they also represent the undercurrent of the division of the social classes within the UK, which were bought to the surface again through the then government’s policy of austerity.

At the opening of the exhibition Mark Say read his short story Colour Between the Folds inspired by Behind the Curtain I

Extract from the story below

I let my gaze sink into the folds, and catch the speckles of blue, red and yellow sliding into the crevices. Maybe a draft is causing a mild movement of the cloth, or maybe it’s my imagination, but the colours seem to have a sprinkling of life, dancing on the surface of the fabric then sinking into its perforations. Now I’m intrigued. I stay still but feel myself drifting into the vision, allowing the colours to absorb my attention. The speckles start expanding into light strokes, running along the lines of the folds with subtle variations of intensity. Colours are oozing, blending into each other to create new shades, showing greens, pinks, purples that slither than evaporate into new streaks of white. Now there are stripes, sliding gently, blurring and fading. Now tiny eruptions as one colour explodes from the depths of another. The lights have transformed into little bursts of energy, and I’m engrossed by a sense of life emerging from between the folds. I feel an urge to reach out and place my fingers into the folds, stir the energy to create new sensations for my gaze.

Download a PDF of the Story (95KB)