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See catalogue PDF - Susan Stockwell

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Su Stockwell 6pp leaflet 297x105mm v.3 11/6/08 1:19 pm Page 5while I write this text – it may well change. A simplygathered form, Stockwell proposes using elements ofmaps for parts of this largely abstract piece, consideringthis work to be the point where her past and currentwork meet. In earlier paper installations and sculpturesshe created environments for the most part of tissue,with drapes that joined the ceiling with piles of thefolded paper on the floor. She also employed cardboardof differing textures and thicknesses, piled high; and shesometimes used tea-bag paper or coffee filters in worksthat were either abstract or figurative. In fact, one of herfirst ‘dresses’ was made from stained coffee filters.Stockwell’s discovery of rice paper has without doubtenthused her in creating these new pieces. Herexcitement at placing them in the Lobby of One CanarySquare lies in the absolute difference between theformality of the spaceand the apparentfrippery she haschosen to place withinit. The contrastbetween thisenvironment, strong incolour and severity ofline, and the absolutewhite and erraticnature of herinterventions has informed her intention.On the day of installation, having assembled thecharacters for her tableaux and their supporting cast,Stockwell’s work is still to be completed. Dresses, quilt, anassembly of frills, and paper ready to be used as drapes,are brought to the Lobby to finish her Paper Tiger.Ann Elliott June 2008Susan Stockwell in her studio 2008 (photo Heini Schneebeli)Highland Dress 2008 (detail)Susan StockwellSusan Stockwell was born in Manchester and studied atSheffield Hallam University 1985–88 and at the RoyalCollege of Art, London 1991–93. She has exhibitedextensively in both solo and group exhibitions since 1997.To support her work, Stockwell taught in art schools inBritain and the United States until 2007, since when shehas been devoting hertime to her own work.In addition tomaking installations,Stockwell works indrawing, collage andsculpture. Hermaterials are readilyavailable, sometimesrecycled, and includerubber, paper, card,domestic andindustrial disposable products with which we are allfamiliar. From used teabag papers, to coffee filters andeven toilet tissue, Stockwell transforms mundane thingsinto magical and mysterious works of art.From 3 July–2 August the artist will also be showingher small works, drawings and collages alongsideAmerican artist Sharon Louden, at Patrick HeideContemporary Art, 11 Church Street, London NW8 8EE(020 7724 5548). www.patrickheide.com.Susan Stockwell presently has work in the RoyalAcademy Summer Exhibition, the Beijing Bienale andat London Print Studio.All works are for sale.Contact Canary Wharf Public Art Office 020 7418 2257.Photographs by the artist unless otherwise credited.EVENT Tuesday 22 July at 1.15pm FREECurator Ann Elliott in conversation with the artist.Please call 020 7418 2257 to book a place.List of works (Dimensions h × w × d)Imperial Quilt2005Paper maps, thread220 × 210 × 4 cm(Imperialmeasurement7 ft 6 ins × 7 ft)Highland Dress2008Ordnance Surveymaps of theHighlands ofScotlandLife-size135 × 100 × 100 cmColonial Dress2008World mapsLife-size150 × 80 × 70 cmPaper Tiger 2008Rice paper300 × 150 × 150 cmFrill 2008Rice paper200 × 200 × 200 cmFrappe 2008Rice paper180 × 100 × 70 cmHighland Dress 2008 (detail)Front cover Colonial Dress 2008 Designed by Tim Harvey Printed by Jamm Print & ProductionCANARY WHARFPAPER TIGER:An installation bySusan StockwellSculpture in the WorkplaceCurated by Ann Elliottfor Canary Wharf GroupOne Canada SquareCanary Wharf, London E14 5AB23 June to 29 August 2008Monday to Friday 5.30am–midnightSaturday & Sunday 7.00am–11.30pmInformation020 7418 2257


Su Stockwell 6pp leaflet 297x105mm v.3 11/6/08 1:19 pm Page 2PAPER TIGER:An Installation by Susan StockwellSusan Stockwell’s installation in the Lobby of OneCanada Square is a hybrid mix of paper sculptures andother paper forms, some of which appear to emerge fromwithin the fabric of the building itself. In an unlikelyalliance, architecture and sculpture are inextricably linkedacross place,governance and time.In works made ofmaps and rice paperfashioned into frillsand flounces, politicalfrocks and a bedspread,Stockwell cutsand snips, sews andstaples paper,gathering and pleatingit to her will. Althoughshe may beconsidered as aninstallation artist,sculpture is foremostin her practice.Drawing is importantto her; location andreason have theirplace, but herinstallations may ormay not be site specific. Paper Tiger, the installation here,might seem to be something other than it is: through therelationship of its parts and how they connect to theLobby of this iconic symbol of business, Stockwell raisesquestions. In this instance there is much thatmasquerades – maps and other papers become fabrics,paper structuresappear as malevolentfungi.The extravaganceof the installationtakes us into thearena of carnival, butwithout its colour.Voluptuous dressesstand as acongregation ofempty shells, likeghosts from somedistant museum, tiedto their corporatestage by a host ofotherworldly forms that have similar attributes.The earliest work in the installation is a ‘quilt’, madeentirely of maps from old atlases, carefully stitched in themanner of an American quilt or bedspread. The patchesthat make up Imperial Quilt 2005 are taken from theDrawing for Frill 2008 (photo Heini Schneebeli)different continents divided by the sea. To form thepattern, one swatch of North America is sewn into eachof the four continents in a re-fashioned map of the worldcentered on the Middle East, with North America framingthe earth and its oceans. The Middle East’s Americanswatch has Washington DC within it (with a place calledAlexandria appropriately beneath). Stockwell comments,‘The quilt also works on the level of being a beautifulwork of craft, based on a traditional American quiltpattern. It is hand stitched, and its size is governed byImperial measurement.’The map dresses are also clearly political. ColonialDress 2008, created in the style favoured by women ofthe Victorian era, speaks of a past when countries andtheir colonies weredefined on worldmaps according totheir common colour:pink for the BritishEmpire. Highland Dress2008, made fromOrdnance Surveymaps of Scotland,may hint atdevolution while againreflecting a form offashion that is longpast. This dress is alittle smaller than lifesize,and was thereby intended to convey a feeling ofbeing slightly uncomfortable, a state common forVictorian women who were often tightly corseted andframed in whalebone.Stockwell discovered the pleasure of working withLeft to right: Frill 2008, Highland Dress 2008, Paper Tiger (in progress). On wall: ruffles and map drawing(photo Heini Schneebeli)Frill 2008 (detail)rice paper when engaged as an artist in residence inTaiwan at the end of 2007. The paper is soft to the touch,unlike the smooth and crisp quality of folded maps, and ithas a lustrous sheen that enhances extravagant, frilledforms when gathered or pleated. The gargantuansculpture Paper Tiger 2008 stands three metres high. Atthe top is a strangely small bodice considering the dropand volume of the skirt, giving a sense of a circusperformer on stilts. In effect Paper Tiger is an empty paperspace, which Stockwell sees as a metaphor for money,almost worthless in substance yet of value byimplication.In contrast with Paper Tiger is Frill 2008. Slightlysmaller, it stands two metres high, a confection of frillsand flounces; it servesto connect with thebuilding through itsprofligate structure,which is mimicked byfungus-like wallpieces. Winnie Lin, aTaiwanese friend ofthe artist, observedthat the layers of frillsremind her of paddyfieldterraces. Stockwellsays of this sculpture,‘For me, it is a seductivepaper extravaganza,with the rice paper doing what it does best, the formsnaturally bringing out its inherent structural qualities.’One more dress completes the quintet that raises thehuman spectre. Frappe 2008, more a suggestion of adress shape than an actual garment, is under constructionImperial Quilt 2005 (detail) Empire Dress 2005 (detail) (photo Jeff Leyshon)

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