This event recognises that the peripheries are dynamic. SULUMUC…things fall apart the centre cannot hold at Tactic provides the co-ordinates for a series of short acts presented by the artists. These acts represent a temporary halting in a process where the search for meaning is always negotiable. There is a willingness to allow for synchronicity, coincidence, and the potential for the unknown. Three artists present new work for …things fall apart the centre cannot hold…Rebecca Bradley, Julie Forrester and Sharon McCarthy came together whilst studying for an MA in art and process at the Crawford College of Art in 2012. While diverse in their approach to materials, they have found intersections in their methodologies, preoccupations and responses.
SULUMUC began as Things Fall Apart, a salute to the fragile commitment of any creative endeavour and a nod to the bathos of trying to create anything at all. Actually, from a position of aftermath, our beginning as Things Fall Apart now seems to be equally about the fragility of collaborative behaviours, in a group of 3, (the perfect number) we are tripod-like leaning into each other, there is a point of contact which holds, rattle a strut and it all falls down. In Things Fall Apart our coming together is charged upon a precarious balance. Beyond this idea the territory for our collaboration is open.
So, Things Fall Apart proposes a kind of balance, a sticking and unsticking, the periphery and the centre. It was quite early on that Rebecca recognised our title as half of a line from Yeats’ poem, The Second Coming (written in 1919, in the aftermath of WW1) “Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold” and with this discovery the title became much weightier, too heavy for our process to bear. As an entity we were in process, a gathering of three to one, and so we gravitated towards Cumulus. Cumulus: a gathering and anticipation of release, the falling apart becomes just part of an inevitable cycle.
All the while we work away in separate locations, in separate existences. We come together once in while, we attend exhibitions, we blog about our responses to exhibitions and ideas, we upload photographs from our studios and images from other artists, Cumulus is a year in the making. We have the gallery space for the month of March. We move in quick. We have already made surreptitious forays into the Tactic space, each bringing in an object each checking the conditions and the parameters of the space. We are still not sure how it will gel, we are supported by our title, things fall apart. At outset we agree, we are challenged by the long rectangular form, the lack of natural light, the strip lighting, the open barn door, the imperfections of painted surfaces.
Now we disagree about lighting, about titles, about approaches, we fall apart, we come together again, it’s polite, a courtly dance with handholding at fingertips and inscrutable glances behind fans. At play is play – in the space we have a chance to interact, with objects our dance is embodied, our collaboration becomes live, now there is an entity apart from ourselves.
Sharon blows bubbles and takes photographs, Rebecca moves elements like chess pieces, we come we go, in ones in twos and in threes. Gradually the space takes on its new form. An entity has emerged, it is now SULUMUC. Already we are beginning to look at it backwards, the culmination of our work has peaked before we open to the public, from now on in we are taking our leavings of this halting place.
The collaborative process is not about singing from the same hymn sheet. From Cumulus to Sulumuc we arrive together, from seeking each other out from different perspectives, the dynamic is not just in the juxtapositions but also in the divergences, our collaboration is about living out these divergences, coming apart, resting watching re-entering the territory, it is embodied, it is a dance of otherness.
Rebecca Bradley works largely on canvas or paper using paint and other media, there is an attempt to capture fleeting moments; travelling through landscape and the memory of it, especially of particular conditions of light.
RB’s images are layered and often resemble photographic images, fragmented moments juxtaposed and building up into gnarly surfaces, almost like a return to the material landscape out of which these images emerged. Sharon McCarthy enjoys paint for its purely sensual qualities, the material gloop of acrylic and the intensity of coloured pigment combine in a dynamic process that often feels geomorphic, a primal heaving, spewing, pouring, her works are testament to their coming into being – like cooled magma, the paint also becomes brittle and shatters.
Lately SMcC has focussed on photography, where her intense proximity to the alchemic properties of her paint works reveals itself in dramatic images, which are often enlivened by the dancing light across draped surfaces. My own work emerges from an entanglement with process and place, and in this instance the specifics of the TACTIC gallery space and the two other artists are the elements at play.