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Rosie Edwards

Genetic Material

Mark Tanner Sculpture Award 2021-22

Exhibition: 13 May - 25 June 2022

Click here to download accompanying essay by Ilsa Colsell.
(PDF, 2 pages, 89 KB)

Standpoint presented a solo exhibition of work by Rosie Edwards, winner of the Mark Tanner Sculpture Award 2021/22.

‘Genetic Material’ presented a series of interrelated sculptures developed over the previous year by Rosie Edwards (b.1981 Oxford, UK), the 19th recipient of the major UK Award.

Assembled playfully like children’s toys across the gallery, Edwards’ brightly coloured sculptures emerge from a process of ‘physical thinking’ with found objects and re-purposed materials.

Prompted by an instinct to invert the logical, Edwards’ sculptures animate and denature the formal language of minimalism. Destabilising the rigid formality of the grid, whilst compounding qualities of hard and soft, sculpture and textile.

Geometric shapes were constructed from various lo-tech, homespun armatures: riveted steel fixing band; sprung steel gleaned from pop-up laundry baskets; and steel mesh tubing with crocheted nodes. They were squashed, folded and extruded before being fixed into shape with traditional sculpting materials (fibreglass tape, plaster bandage). The resulting structures became empathetic beings that retained the imprint of the body or the impact of an action. The tactility and resilience of these initially malleable structures portrayed a moment of transformation, as if capturing a substance changing state or a building in its first moment of collapse.

Other forms were created from the inside out: accumulations of balls stuffed inside found ‘skins’ inflated with expanding foam. These basic building methods resulted in forms suggestive of protein structures, molecules, or cells dividing. They scramble scale and, like molecular models, have the ability to speak of things that are simultaneously very small and very large.

Coloured twine coated the surface of several elements in an optic pattern, creating a sense of transformation occurring within. The optical surface pattern has a quiet but persistent pulse, the effect of which is slightly disturbing, alien, uncanny. Their whirring energy creates the sense there is something you have forgotten; it is not clear if their presence is malignant or benign.

Redundant domestic items including plate racks, coat hangers and laundry baskets were found interspersed throughout the exhibition. Formed slightly off kilter they were imbued with a questionable stability, holding within them the collective anxiety of our time.

Through necessity of space in the artist’s studio, works were stacked on top of each other, moved around and constantly reconfigured. Objects at the bottom had little choice but to serve as plinths for the more transient upper layers. This constant scrambling of position allows the potential for unconscious discourse between elements. These objects, elusive beings of unclear status, eventually find their niche. Like fish in a coral reef, coupling occurs and things slowly acquire ‘settled status’.