'Flotsam' at the Malthouse Gallery, Lyme Regis
‘Masterpieces are no more than the shipwrecked Flotsam of great minds’ Marcel Proust
In a post-pandemic world which is currently at war with itself, we are all looking to find a sense of unity, coherence and positivity amongst the tatters of uncertainty, indecision and division. ‘Flotsam’, an exhibition taking place in The Malthouse Gallery, Lyme Regis from Friday 1st to Thursday 7th July, brings together the work of ten artists and makers as a response to this theme.
What is Left Behind
Working in a variety of media – ceramics, painting, photography, printmaking, basketry, textiles, jewellery and lighting – these creatively diverse people offer their interpretations of the word ‘Flotsam’, how it relates to their respective practices and, in turn, how this can be communicated and expressed. Josie Purcell's eco-conscious photographic work repurposes her past cyanotypes into paper flowers while her lumen prints of decaying flora glow with vibrancy, with both series inviting us to embrace change, adapt, and be re-born. Sam Isaacs repurposes salvaged materials, often from the shoreline, to produce unique lighting solutions, while Jenny Gracie, a basket maker forages for materials which have been cast adrift; fallen branches or wind-blown catkins that she weaves with her home-grown willow into baskets.
Daniel Richardson's domestic thrown pottery often feature tidelines; where one glaze meets another and a chemical magic happens, just as shorelines conjure up treasure for beachcombers. Sea-twine and detritus often find their way into Alison Shelton Brown’s sculptural jewellery. Alison met recent textile graduate, Jess Strain last summer who was researching natural dyeing techniques on Dartmoor and invited her to be part of this curated art exhibition. Photographer, Robin Shelton also has a passion for the natural world and has developed photographic eco-printing methods which record the ghost-like memories of flowers.
Uncovering Resilience Through Adversity
‘Flotsam’ can also be a term directed at people as well as objects, so this exhibition also hints at the notion that people themselves can sometimes feel overlooked, superfluous or washed-up which are themes printmaker Maria Bowers has been working with, and is also gently reflected in the paintings by Hazel Dormer and Jonathan Mulvaney; recording the remnants of a once thriving fishing fleet. The artist’s role has always been – in part at least – that of a mouthpiece for the trends and mores of society as a whole; this exhibition therefore offers the viewer a chance to reflect on and resonate with these responses.
All works on show will be for sale at affordable prices and there will be opportunities to meet some of the artists during the Private View on Saturday 2nd July. There will also be a series of workshops and demonstrations during the week, giving an insight into their making processes. Weave your own willow Leaf Platter with Jenny Gracie, or try eco-printing a silk scarf using locally foraged plants with Alison Shelton Brown - click here for more details and to book the half-day craft sessions.
Ceramics by Robin Welch
As well as the works of the ten participating artists, there will be a rare chance to see and purchase work by the late master potter Robin Welch, with whom Daniel Richardson, one of the exhibitors, collaborated on a number of occasions. If Proust was right (above), these items can indeed be seen as what is left behind after one man’s navigation of the turbulent ocean of a life.
Visit the Malthouse Gallery in Lyme Regis
So, please come along to get inspired, get involved and to get affirmation that, in these times of struggle and hardship, none of us is alone in wanting to see beauty through adversity.
‘I refuse to accept the idea that ‘humankind’ is mere flotsam and jetsam in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events which surround them’ Martin Luther King
Malthouse Gallery, Town Mill Courtyard, Lyme Regis DT7 3PU
Friday 1st – Thursday 7th July 2022
10.30am – 6pm daily
Late night Saturday 2nd July 6 – 8pm
Jenny Gracie Making Space to Make
Sam Isaacs Reworked
Workshop Bookings info