Bigger than a book, wilder than a Tree

Christina Mackie
Jerry Pethick

14 September – 27 October 2012

Catri­ona Jef­fries is pleased to announce the exhi­bi­tion Big­ger than a book, wilder than a tree which brings togeth­er for the first time the work of Christi­na Mack­ie and Jer­ry Pethick. Bor­row­ing its title from a 1994–97 work by Pethick, this pair­ing seeks to explore the affini­ties between their sculp­tur­al prac­tices, which share a belief in the com­mu­nica­tive abil­i­ties of mate­ri­als to speak beyond their for­mal and aes­thet­ic capa­bil­i­ties, from the specif­i­cal­ly deter­mined width of an old growth cedar plank, to the blush of a paint­ed flu­o­res­cent tube, a com­pressed ball of sul­fur or the frail walls of a hor­nets’ nest.

There exists an enig­mat­ic rela­tion­ship between the two artists, although nev­er hav­ing met one anoth­er. They share an intel­li­gence for the dis­tinct work­ings of sculp­ture to invoke ‘those oth­er reminders of space that help the visu­al­iz­ing of our sur­round­ing air … the dust par­ti­cles in sun­light and wind dev­ils, the dap­pled sun­light falling through trees, and the tur­bu­lence of air by pass­ing cars, or the dan­de­lion fluff of spring waft­ing in all direc­tions.’ [1] The exhi­bi­tion will present two major sculp­tur­al instal­la­tions of pre­cise mate­r­i­al detail by Mack­ie. Her exper­i­men­tal ren­der­ing of a land­scape exam­ines the ever present wilder­ness of the coast but avoids clichés of rep­re­sen­ta­tion of place. Par­tic­u­lates of colour man­i­fest in pig­ment, sand and the flecks of hand­made ceram­ic glaze in her mul­ti­far­i­ous instal­la­tion, where one looks down as opposed to the sky to find an image of the moon, con­jur­ing var­i­ous planes of vision and emo­tion with a still­ness of obser­va­tion like one’s eyes slow­ly adjust­ing in the dark.

Sim­i­lar­ly, Pethick’s notion of space as a ‘tan­gi­ble com­mod­i­ty’ informed his prac­tice that sought to extrap­o­late space through an aug­men­ta­tion of per­cep­tion. Two par­tic­u­lar works by Pethick will be exhib­it­ed from the lat­er part of his career, Gobi Clone (1996–97) and Trough (2001), both works exclude Pethick’s char­ac­ter­is­tic use of the lens array, thus call­ing atten­tion to his inter­est in the mate­r­i­al pres­ence of space. The bal­anced arrange­ment of exist­ing com­po­nents in Gobi Clone form var­i­ous inten­si­ties of com­pact­ness, from each indi­vid­ual stalk of packed and baled straw to tiny indi­vid­ual orbs of Sty­ro­foam, while the poise of Trough belies the weight of an aircraft’s fuel tank and the den­si­ty of a seg­ment­ed maple tree. The artists’ respec­tive aggrega­tive com­po­si­tions share a mutu­al desire to under­stand the ancient nat­ur­al for­ma­tions and indus­try of a par­tic­u­lar ter­rain – imag­ined or oth­er­wise – beyond a parochial inves­ti­ga­tion of land­scape.

[1] Jer­ry Pethick, ‘The Tena­cious Image’, Notion of Noth­ing, Stadt­ga­lerie, Saar­bruck­en, 1994

Christi­na Mack­ie (b. 1956) lives and works in Lon­don. She stud­ied at the Van­cou­ver School of Art in the mid 1970s and then at Saint Mar­tins Col­lege of Art, Lon­don. She was recent­ly award­ed a major com­mis­sion by the Con­tem­po­rary Art Soci­ety, Lon­don for Not­ting­ham Cas­tle Muse­um and in 2005 she was the win­ner of the Becks Futures Art Prize. Recent solo exhi­bi­tions include Paint­ing the Weights, Kun­sthal Char­lot­ten­borg, Copen­hagen and Chisen­hale Gallery, Lon­don (2012); Us, Vic­to­ri­an Col­lege of the Arts, Mel­bourne (2010); The Judges, Sup­por­t­i­co Lopez, Berlin, and Jer­wood Room, Oxford (2010); Steal, In the Silent, Sonia Rosso, Turin (2008); This That and The Oth­er, Her­ald St, Lon­don (2007); Art Now Sculp­ture Court, Tate Britain, Lon­don (2007); The Inter­zone, Hen­ry Moore Insti­tute, Leeds (2002); Mean­while, cca Kitakyushu (2000). Her work has been includ­ed in numer­ous inter­na­tion­al exhi­bi­tions, includ­ing Frag­ment­ed Bod­ies, Tate Britain, Lon­don (2011); Sil­l­abario, Nomas Foun­da­tion, Rome (2010); Mol­e­c­u­lar Etwas, Kun­st-Werke, Berlin (2010); Busan Bien­nale, Busan (2008); Love Me Ten­der, Tate Britain, Lon­don (2007); British Art Show 6, Baltic Cen­tre for Con­tem­po­rary Art, New­cas­tle, and tour (2006); Beck’s Futures, ICA, Lon­don, (2005); Real World, Mod­ern Art Oxford (2004); Black Box Recorder, Muse­um Lud­wig, Cologne (2003); Ani­ma­tions, Kun­st-Werke, Berlin; PS1, New York (2001–2). Her mono­graph Paint­ing the Weights was pub­lished by the Chisen­hale Gallery, Lon­don and Kun­sthal Char­lot­ten­borg, Copen­hagen in 2012.

Jer­ry Pethick (1935 – 2003) was born in Lon­don, Ontario and in 1957 moved to Lon­don, UK to study at the Chelsea Col­lege of Art and lat­er at the Roy­al Col­lege of Art. In 1968 he moved to Ann Arbor and then San Fran­cis­co and in 1975 moved per­ma­nent­ly to Horn­by Island, British Colum­bia, where he lived and worked until the end of his life. A forth­com­ing solo exhi­bi­tion of his work will take place at the Van­cou­ver Art Gallery in 2014. Solo exhi­bi­tions include Simon Fras­er Uni­ver­si­ty Gallery (2011); Catri­ona Jef­fries, Van­cou­ver (2008); Typol­o­gy of Space, Con­tem­po­rary Art Gallery, Van­cou­ver (2004); Draw­ing Room, Art Gallery of Mis­sis­sauga; Art Gallery of Nova Sco­tia; Musée Region­al de Rimous­ki, Que­bec (2001); Out of the Cor­ner of an Eye, Cen­ter of Con­tem­po­rary Art, Seat­tle (2000); Straw Tow­er, Lon­don Region­al Art Gallery, Lon­don, Ontario (1998); The Fur­ther World, Cana­di­an Embassy, Tokyo (1997); Notion of Noth­ing, Stadt­ga­lerie, Saar­bruck­en (1994); Still Veils, The Pow­er Plant, Toron­to (1992); La Dot / Tran­si­tion in Progress, 49th Par­al­lel Cen­tre for Con­tem­po­rary Cana­di­an Art, New York; Crousel Robelin BAMA, Paris (1985–86); Traces of Dis­cov­ery, Cana­di­an Cul­tur­al Cen­tre, Paris; Van­cou­ver Art Gallery (1984–86); The Eski­mo / Krieghoff Prox­im­i­ty Device: A Cul­tur­al Osmo­sis, Van­cou­ver Art Gallery (1979); Space Arrays, Nova 1 Gallery, Berke­ley (1972). His work has been includ­ed in numer­ous inter­na­tion­al group exhi­bi­tions and a selec­tion of mono­graphs and artists’ books have been pub­lished on his work since the late 1970s.

For fur­ther infor­ma­tion or press enquires please con­tact Catri­ona Jef­fries or Anne Low at +1 604 736 1554.