Emma Donaldson: Trouble = Progress 8 Feb - 30 Mar 2013
Exhibition Launch - Thursday 7 February from 7 pm
‘How can all the world’s glorious “technicolour phenomenology arise from soggy grey matter?”’ (Philosopher Colin McGinn quoted in catalogue essay*)
How do we occupy space? What do we mean by the body? What is it that makes us who we are and does it exist within, or without? In an exhibition of new work, Trouble = Progress at Millennium Court Arts Centre, artist and ACES (Arts Council of Northern Ireland and their Artists Career Enhancement Programme) recipient Emma Donaldson attempts to disentangle these metaphysical questions in sculpture, installation, video, writing and drawing. The forms created are both beautiful and enigmatic.
Donaldson’s work teases out the relationship between the physical body as a vessel and what she refers to as the “mental armatures” (formed by experience) that shape our perception of self; the enduring philosophical mind-body problem. Her work is about mapping the unchartered landscape of the psyche and mental processing; how we receive, transfer and lose information. Through a process of experimentation she creates new forms to articulate fleeting and ephemeral experiences, and to visualise processes of thought and memory. The work also situates itself in the real physical world, in architectural spaces, the street and the landscape outside the artist’s studio window.
LP1 V, 2012 a structure with flickering and sequenced flashing light bulbs, like synapses, seek to capture the essence and dynamics of thought. Similarly the 5 meter hanging piece, entitled Stacked may be seen as representing a train of thought or perhaps the layering up of experience. Other sculptures, with their softness and precarious balance on attenuated plinthes allude to anxiety or instability. The watercolour sketches meanwhile demonstrate development of ideas and themes within the work itself over a period of 12 months; recurring circular motifs that are later realised in three dimensions. And, through a written text piece and accompanying video work Donaldson takes the viewer on a sensory walk, through a home and into the outside world. She performs a topoanalysis of a familiar place to investigate how real physical space affects memory creating mental armatures that contribute to perception and behaviour. The trouble of the title alludes perhaps to the fact that any progress is hard won, non-linear and messy.
“Clean bricks are made of mud, we need them for our tower”. (Thomas Kinsella from Nightwalker, quoted in catalogue essay*)
-- A publication will accompany the exhibition, new essay by Gemma Tipton.
This exhibition has been made possible through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and their Artists Career Enhancement Programme (ACES).
Artist’s Bio: Studied painting at Wimbledon School of Art, Royal College of Art in London, University of Houston and Histories and Theories of Architecture at the AA, London. She has exhibited at both solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally: Queens Street Studios, 2010, Golden Thread Gallery, 2009, Context Gallery Derry, 2006 Central Space London, 2002, 49 Broadway Market, London, 2001, Veneer/Folheado, Galerie Ze de Bois, Lisbon, 2004, Musuem of Arab Contemporary Art, Sharjah, UAE, 2003
Emma Donaldson: Trouble = Progress (Millennium Court Arts Centre)