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Work from Joanna Langford, the 2006 Olivia Spencer-Bower Fellow, opens the exhibition year at Jonathan Smart Gallery. The show is called "the quietening".
the quieteningJoanna Langford
As installation in the front gallery, the billowing cloud-like qualities of tufted, recycled supermarket bags are combined with a scaffolding of painted skewers, to create an atmosphere of weightlessness and fantasy. There is movement and a sense of mesmerising lightness. But there is also a quiet air of menace.
My work is not the kind of premeditated making where you research concepts and theories and plan and draw up and make markets. It is very spontaneous and the sort of research I do is very superficial and just happens randomly. For example I will look at a picture for ages and get lost in it and just absorb stuff, kinesthetic experience, and visual experience.
I like the kind of research that just happens to you in the everyday, like you’re drinking a cup of tea and the imagery on the cup takes you somewhere, it opens that little door in your imagination and suddenly you find yourself in a spindly little world with bridges and winding paths and old willow trees, I like this kind of experience that catches you off guard in the middle of an everyday ritual . You’re not preempted or mentally prepared like when you walk into a gallery. And at the end, you don’t know what you have learnt but it was something.
Or research happens to me when I walk into somewhere like the conservatory in the botanical gardens. Its suddenly magic it’s like this capsule that is completely different from the outside world. You step from the bitter cold of Christchurch into the humid jungles with banana trees and waterfalls it’s a zone that is so physically different to where you are that it feels like anything could happen your imagination is heightened.
Memories of things I have seen and place I have been and travel are a sort of source material, places like Cappadoccia in Turkey other places in South America, mythical and mystical places. Weird landscapes or architecture. Also certain kinds of lifestyles: nomads like the circuses and other wanderers like gypsies that kind of ‘make-do’ life style where you adapt and create from what you have. Adapting environments and adapting to environments. Roaming, Carnivals, Nomadic, Tramps and Bag ladies. Like camping, like caravans, like sleeping under bridges and in railway cars. You convert things you make a spoon out of a stick or use a ticket booth, or a railway car or a bridge as your accommodation. Resourceful.
Also odd little trinkets and objects that I have lying around, and all those other things like movies and stories and little things that people say I find leak into my work.