Mirei Unit 2 gallery London
Mirei proposes a pairing between the work of Mary Maclean and Camilla Wilson. Mary Maclean’s photographs focus on the architecture of public and private space, suggesting an inversion of the habitual priorities of looking, bringing to the surface what might otherwise be disregarded aspects of institutional space. Materially they involve combining the photographic image and semi reflective surfaces to construct a changeable and illusive reading of interior space. These approaches serve to intensify the act of looking.
Camilla Wilson’s paintings deal with the representation of interior spaces, some glimpsed and fractured in mirrors. The interiors themselves provide small stages of a sort, presenting an illusion of completeness, undermined by internal repetitions, reversals, other interruptions, or projected light, which break the seamlessness of pictorial space.
From a material standpoint, the pairing of these two artists raises the inevitable contradiction in the nature of the surface, in tension between the flatness of Modernism’s ‘canvas’, and the endless relay of representational space provoked by reflection.
The subject of the interior is here addressed not as a question of genre, but of experience. Through an articulate approach to framing, with internal frames, breaks, blinds and thresholds, the works here may figure what Richard Wollheim has called ‘the viewer in the picture’, of the witness prefigured, although not represented, in an unsettling bond with what is witnessed. The fragment as a device here is instrumental, along with the sense that normal habits of looking are denied, or displaced, even dislocated. Shifts in viewpoint and slippages foil or undermine expectation provoking a spatial estrangement. This capacity for the familiar to turn upon the beholder, in order to appear de-familiarised, de-realised, is a function of the Uncanny, which according to Anthony Vidler, ‘is not a property of space itself, nor can it be provoked by any spatial conformation; it is, in its aesthetic dimension, a representation of a mental state of projection that precisely elides the boundaries of the real and the unreal, in order to provoke a disturbing ambiguity, a slippage between waking and dreaming…’
Mirei 9 December – 15 January 2011 Unit 2 Gallery London
Mary Maclean, Camilla Wilson