Blind Alley projects
Aileen Harvey: Lag
August 2 to September 10, 2022
Location: 3317 West 4th Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76107
Blind Alley projects is pleased to present Aileen Harvey: Lag which opens Tuesday, August 2, with the artist onsite for an opening event 6 to 8pm at the gallery. It has been a pleasure to work with such a bright mind and relentless eye, an artist with a probing spirit who has taken into account the relationships of material, form, time, and space as well as linking here and there in tangible and poetic ways.
In a statement about the exhibition at Blind Alley, Harvey explains,
I was very taken with the vitrine space of Blind Alley projects, with its possibilities for haptic viewing and visual wrong-footing, the kind of optical layering of spaces that I enjoy. I've been thinking about the shapes of time, and how it accretes in things, makes loops and switchbacks, or movements of burying and uncovering.
I think of the sculptures in Lag as process drawings, where each form arises from a repeated gesture. In a way, they're growths. They're a little bit planned but evolve in intuitive response to the material and what emerges – formally they interest me when they hover between biomorphism and abstraction. I also like it when my tendency to see faces is activated, lending them something of the green (wo)man: the old English hybrid figure, half tree, half human, symbolic of unruly nature erupting into new life. For me, it's a question of our continuity with the more-than-human, of acknowledging ourselves to be run through with wildness and nonhuman beings. The materials themselves also matter, in their behaviours in the hand and in the kiln, in their transformations and flux, and in what they began as: earth and ash. The homemade wood ash glaze and the clays were given by friends; one clay was dug raw from the Welsh ground. The materials are transitive; they draw out affinities, connecting places and especially people, through overlapping leaps of faith. On the wall here in Texas, they become pauses for the eye, temporary congealments.
The lines snaking across the glass follow the meanders of tar around the corner on Boland Street, make-do mends that try their best to patch up the cracks. I made a paint from coal, tar's cousin, that washed up as pebbles on the coast of Suffolk, England – it is several million years of squashed plant material, unearthed and tumbled in a grey sea. The lines also sediment, here and there, the reflected tree across the street.
There is a different kind of time in the film that plays, barely discernible, on the floor. It's an intrusion, a dusting of foreign light that ghosts the space, that almost seems to fit in, but doesn't get away with it. It's hot and the penny is dropping. The sunlight fell a while ago, on concrete, on cracked stone; through a grove of ancient olives, through the leaves of a pecan tree that won't produce this year.
Aileen Harvey is a London-based artist and researcher. She makes drawings or objects that consider relationships to place. Her art materials are often homemade, from substances related to the landscape she is working with. The work tends to follow a set of rules, wherein chance is given a role, and art processes can echo large-scale changes in geology, weather, and growth. There is an element of experimentation and play running through her work, as well as a practice of operating between things.
Harvey studied philosophy and then sculpture (MA Edinburgh, MPhil Cambridge and BA Wimbledon) and finds that the subjects inform one another. Exhibitions include: The Photographers' Gallery, London; An Lanntair, Stornoway; Karussell, Zürich; Bernard Leach Gallery, St Ives; and Customs House Gallery, Sunderland. She has published journal articles, book chapters, and a photo-book