23rd May - 6th June 2014
Artist: Henry Blackshaw
Islington Arts Factory is pleased to announce Super Natural by Henry Blackshaw, the first artist to be selected for the inaugural Metamorphose Residency Award. Henry has been in residence from September 2013 – May 2014.
Super Natural presents Henry’s work on narratives surrounding ghosts, spirits and poltergeists, and their parallels with our notions of art. All of the works have been made whilst Henry has been in residence.
The world of ghosts and specters has more in common with the nature of art than might first appear the case. Thinking about the archetypal ghost story in relation to art might help shed light, like the flicker of a lone candle, on the similarities. The story goes that a ghost, a strange representation of something not there, appears to the lone vulnerable viewer. It will be silent or mouth a message which we cannot hear. We are pinned to the spot, rendered speechless by this rift in how we perceive the world. The encounter will always be a deeply personal one. We only see ghosts that we want to see, they exist in the eye of the beholder, and so we can never be sure if they are real or have been cooked up by some lowlife fraudster.
It is by thinking about these stories, by substituting the ghost for an artwork, that Henry has tried to glimpse at some of the traits at the heart of an artwork. In some cases he has overlaid ghost-lore onto art in an attempt to summon a ghost on silk.
For the last four years Henry has worked on silk and his project on ghosts grew organically from his experience with his materials. ‘I’ve always thought that my silks have a ghostly quality to them. They move by their own accord when caught by the wind or someone walks past them. Effectively they’re just a sheet with holes in’
Henry has largely developed his own techniques for working on silk. The works are made with a combination of fabric dyes, fabric paints, screen printing, gutta lines, burn holes and are steamed, stretched, washed and ironed.
This exhibition has been made possible with generous support from The Foyle Foundation.
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