Review / Wearable and witty work at Bilk

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Work by Larah Nott
Work by Larah Nott.
LARAH Nott and Jo Hawley are in the early years of their careers, although they are experienced enough not to be identified as “emerging”.

In this exhibition both are exploring spaces. Nott is interpreting floor plans of concert halls in an ongoing series showing what lies beneath or hidden in these large buildings.  Shadows and outlines, negative and positive spaces are all explored in Hawley’s work.

As members of the audience we see only a small portion of the space under the roofs of performing spaces. Nott has travelled to Manchester, Paris, Berlin and Harbin in China to gather floorplans.

The brooches, a three dimensional depiction of the buildings, are complex, revealing layers and internal levels of the building. She uses titanium, a light metal which allows her to create the volume of the building without the weight of a heavier metal. Titanium holds sharp forms and is delicate and light. She has folded, waterjet cut and hand cut and combined titanium with stainless steel to produce objects such as “The Bridgewater Hall Brooch” – a performance hall in Manchester.

Necklace by Jo Hawley
Necklace by Jo Hawley
Often these buildings have a recurring motif on the external walls and she has adapted an image from Bridgewater Hall to create a bangle, also in anodised titanium which she has used a waterjet to cut and hand finished. Nott understands the need for efficiency in creating and cleverly many of the pieces she is exhibiting are in small editions.

She has also created neckpieces and necklaces, based on performing arts centres, such as the “Berlin Philharmoniker Hall necklace” and the “Philharmonic de Paris brooch”.

A series of “spoke” pieces are a spin-off from the construction of the brooches, with two pieces of titanium joined and separated by metal rods. The internal and external edges of these have been scalloped to create interest.

Using different materials and a different approach, Jo Hawley describes the “pods” and  “half shells” for her work as letters, which make up components that in turn become words. These basic shapes are used in myriad ways to create a seemingly endless range of works. She has used the outline of the half shells – frequently as links – and the pods to create positive and negative versions.  So, “Outline Pendant Pair” is made up of two companion pieces, one in three-dimensional pods, the other of the outer shapes of the pods joined to make the same basic form in outline form.

In “Reflection Pendant Pair” two pendants, mirror images, are hung together. Her intention might have been for them to be worn together, but I think one would need a big chest to do so.

Hawley also creates a 3D version of a silhouette pendant, as in “SilhouettePendant Pair”. The silhouette is in black sterling silver, the other in white.

Most of Hawley’s works are in white silver – a satin, matt bright white surface, using a time-consuming process of depletion-plating – removing the surface to obtain the bright colour.  The pods and shells spill from the chains, creating a pattern of negatives and positives, shadows and lines.

These two young women are showing wearable and witty bodies of work. Their serious approach to their work defies its playful intent. While both artists work quite differently, these two bodies of work complement each other.

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