What sticks – Vanessa Billy, Daniel Gustav Cramer, Georg Gatsas

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What sticks — Vanessa Billy, Daniel Gustav Cramer and Georg Gatsas
6th November — 18th December 2010
Opening reception 5th November 6 – 8 pm

Finding the right stone, just weighted so
As not to lose the momentum against air,
Just big enough to get the finger hooked
And triggered round it, just plump enough
To skip before it skimmed: the excitement of it
Got me like fiddle music every time.
And not just me. We were all the same,
Casual at first, then warming to the search,
Picking, testing, stockpiling, face to face
With the whole extent of water, refusing
To give up

Seamus Heaney, 1st stanza of Skims and Glances

The artist as collector is the figure that unites the diverse works in What sticks, an exhibition by Vanessa Billy, Daniel Gustav Cramer and Georg Gatsas. Collecting begins out of curiosity but can become obsession, as the collector is continually driven to seek objects; once started, the quest can never be complete, as its purpose is indefinite. For Billy, Cramer and Gatsas, collecting is a means of finding raw materials and creating a combined authorship with the histories of those materials.

The exhibition title is borrowed from a 2010 collage by Vanessa Billy (1978), an artist who also works in sculpture. Found objects are repeatedly the catalyst for Billy’s pieces, she responds to the materiality of what she encounters. Her works on paper are generally collages of two sources, typically a landscape and an art publication, with one image interrupting the other by arresting the eye at the point to which it is drawn by the framing image. Daniel Gustav Cramer (1975) will show several pieces in which the tension between chance finding and deliberate production is immanent. During a fellowship residency in Oxford last year Cramer discovered and was allowed complete access to the Paranormal Database, from which came Ghost, 2010, 70 newly bound volumes, in which more than 10,000 documented ghost encounters are collated. The artist also found two postcards of a New Zealand farming scene; though clearly from an era before digital manipulation, several major pictorial adjustments can be spotted between the two. That unlikely coincidence is in marked comparison with Cramer’s work employing a photograph of Mount Everest, on top of which a Sir Edmund Hillary’s signature is reproduced on demand. Artist Georg Gatsas (1978) is presenting images from prints he recently happened upon that had been taken by his grandmother at a Fasnacht celebration in the Lucerne region. In terms of composition and relationship to subject these prints prefigure Gatsas’ own portraits several decades later. By looking for objects that lie between the familiar and the surprising, the known and the unexpected, these artists engage with chance while creating works that both respect and seek continuity with their sources.

Aoife Rosenmeyer

Exhibition documentation