• Jessica Bartlett

The Space Between / What was / What will be


The Space Between

Reflecting on the exhibition 10th April 2018- 15th April 2018

The liminal and the overlooked. Those threshold spaces that are neither here nor there. That glimpse of something fleeting. A memory of something vague and untellable. These are things explored in my latest work for the exhibition The Space Between at The Christmas Steps Gallery, Bristol with artist Jemma Grundon, musician Jim Cornick and writer Gemma Brace.

Jemma Grundon and I first met at university (a decade or more ago) over a shared love of biscuits, cheap wine and landscape painting. As our tastes have matured over this time, both with wine and painting (biscuits will always be a constant). Our conversations moved on to what it was that made the landscape so compelling and common themes of the liminal and transient began to emerge and move our work on. We have talked for a long time about having an exhibition that really draws out the themes of our work. The Space Between is what we created.

The Christmas Steps Gallery has offered a test space to physically explore new ideas, working on The Space Between has allowed me to gain a focus to explore new work and materials. As an artist I am striving to articulate the nothingness, the liminal, the fragile moment described by pauses in time. However just like holding a butterfly by the wing, the moment you try to capture it, something of the beauty and magic is lost. Research into Japanese culture and aesthetics have helped secure my meaning. Through 'wabi-sabi' and 'ma' I have found ways of articulating my relationship with the world and the way I see and feel things. The transient beauty of all things and looking at the overlooked and everyday have helped me make the work for the exhibition. The Space Between has been a source of conversation with my work for the last six months, going forward I will continue a critically engaged conversation with Jemma Grundon and work on expanding the research created by this exhibition.

The Work:

Liminal Reflections, is a cut circle of glass. I engraved and etched the surface to create a pattern of trees, with a light directly shone on the surface creates a shadow as the work has been tilted against the wall. It is through and beyond. The shadow cast forms an oval, it plays tricks with the eyes. I am thinking of the way tree branches appear reflections in puddles and glass in the city. The puddle of water, the sky, the pavement and the tree all form one surface. This glimpse of another viewpoint can catch your eye and make you think of somewhere else, if only for a second. This plays in my imagination of what is behind or beneath the surface reflections.

Tracing the Memory, the leaf from a Rubber Tree, that was grown by my grandfather in India, and was picked by my aunt thirty years ago. It made its way to me via Australia. This drawing has been a journey and is about memory and landscape and imagination of what was. Its also about belonging and family and personal journeys. The scratched, scorched surface holds this memory.

Shadow Lines are a series of experiments with what is there and not there. The physicality of a leaf has a shadow. The outline of the shadow was drawn. These lines were drawn, and redrawn, over and over to become abstract forms. The burnt line creates a permanence which can’t be erased and sits softly as a shadow under layers of white paint.

Solid Objects, these shards of glass form the shapes of leaves, engraved and scratched on both sides the glass gains a weight and a presence. I have laid them as little collections is the fireplace. The deep, heavy black historical feature in the room supports the brittle, white, ice-like objects.

The Book of Leaves, a collaborative project that evolved over a number of months. I asked people to find and send me a leaf and tell me of where it was found. I have drawn each leaf to scale in as much detail as I could, these leaves along with a short sentence of where and how they were found have been bound together using 'Japanese Stab binding' to make the book. I want this book to be about contemplating a singular moment in time and memory. It is also a book about landscape and place and personal stories. This is an open ended project that is continuously evolving.

The little gallery has its own charms, the age and quirkiness of the space allows for contemplation and supported our work and the themes of the exhibition well. The Christmas Steps are a pedestrian lane within the centre of Bristol. Seemingly untouched by modernity, they in themselves operate in the space between.

#Exhibition #Artwork #Ambition #glass #Bookofleaves

Jessica Bartlett Artist

37 Phillip Street

Bedminster

Bristol BS3 4EA

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