From January 10th to February 10th of 2019
“I have gathered a posy of other men’s flowers, and nothing but the thread that binds them is my own.”
– Michel de Montaigne
Collage, for me, is a channel of negotiation in the modern world – a tool for intuitive discovery that acknowledges the global nature of information, harnessing an analogue approach through the physicality of cutting and tearing. The work in Sublime explores the relationship we as humans have with our surroundings and our perception toward forces of nature, exposing the fragility of the human condition.
A transformation of value and ownership occurs through appropriation of material associated with low culture: magazines, billboards and found objects culled from the local urban environment. Advertising becomes allegory, the throwaway becomes elevated and the presupposed intentions behind the printed media can be challenged.
The largest and most prominent work The Garden (a manifold of micro-creative acts) is overtly based upon the central panel The Garden of Earthly Delights, by Hieronymus Bosch (c. 1450). The work was created intuitively, making direct reference to the original painting in composition and form, whilst drawing playfully upon Bosch’s’ surreal humour. At first glance the world is a playground. The players are engrossed in themselves and the immediate abundance of pleasure surrounding them. On closer inspection, one finds peculiarities, that make reference to contemporary issues. The use of magazine media breaks down the barrier between viewer and work of art, pushing itself into the complex universe of the everyday. Any strong moralistic standpoint, as with Bosch’s original, is ambiguous and outside of our immediate grasp.
In times of culture shift, political confusion and ecological turmoil, the work in this exhibition operates on a level of cathartic release – an attempt to synthesize the paradoxical emotions that arise from constant exposure to news of catastrophe. In this instance, the notion of the Sublime is to function as a reference towards a point of awareness, a space of humility where the ordinary fabric of existence is torn apart, and the dialectic between exhilaration and uncertainty is revealed. Continually shifting in scale and perspective, magazine spines become tiny islands, and circular cut-outs of magazine holiday destinations present us with a tunnel-like field of vision, interrupting the viewer’s sense of spatial coherence.
With an awareness of the fragility of the media (both related to mass communication, and to the medium of paper itself) the intention of this exhibition is to remind us of the heavy weight of desire. What remains is a contemporary explosion of a fragmented reality; one that perpetually drives us forward only to return to the ever present moralistic dilemmas that have shaped us before.
Nina Fraser (St. Albans, Hertfordshire, UK, 1984) gained a first class degree hons BA Textile Art at Winchester College of Art, Hampshire, UK in 2006. It was from this material investigation that she eventually found herself working directly with paper. Multidisciplinary, Nina’s work draws influence from drawing, painting, collage and sculpture, often combining several processes in one work. In 2008 she co-founded a not-for-profit community arts cafe in Southampton, UK, where she was co- director for seven years. She emigrated to Portugal in 2014, becoming a resident artist at MArt Artist Studios in Lisbon from 2015 – 2017, participating in collective exhibitions, Escola das Linguas – Museu de São Roque, Campanha – Casa-museu Medeiros e Almeida, Sem Escrupulos – 78/80 Galeria, and Escalas Desejantes – MNHNC. Since 2015 she has participated in international collective exhibitions (UK, Portugal, Italy, Berlin, Slovenia, New York, Dublin, and Savannah), and Solo exhibitions (UK, Portugal and Poland). She has works held in private collections in UK, Portugal, the United States, Germany, Australia, and Poland. Her collages have been selected for magazine publication in USA, Italy, London, Spain and Portugal, and book publication in Spain and USA.