10.10.18 - 30.10.18
Just as the circle, with its unbroken curved line, is a unifying form – and force – its use in Jo Wilson’s work harmonises seeming opposites: the hand-crafted and factory-made; the original and the reproduction, and the universal and particular.
Wilson’s circular forms include wooden mesh, elongated solid timber hand-turned forms, rolls of packing tape cast in bronze, and salvaged industrial patterns made of wood and rubber. A pattern is, by nature, a means to an end, a mould for a cast. Yet here, the pattern is given pre-eminence – its integrity as a handcrafted, unique object is made visible, all the more so because Wilson has chosen to apply her own hand to the original object rather than to cast it in anything else. By applying metallic paint and various pigments to their surfaces, inscribing lines and carving wooden inlays, Wilson foregrounds and honours both the everyday work history of these forms, and the role of the hand in their original production.
This redeployment of industrial wheels, patterns and discs, and the use of recycled timber in cylindrical forms also references the endlessly repeated line of the circle and functions, in a real sense, to give these objects new life.
Alongside, and quite literally underpinning some of these forms, are some of the common and generally overlooked materials intrinsic to their production. Wilson’s use of industrial, corrugated cardboard, and thick rolls of packing tape cast in aluminium and bronze, respectively, take us to the factory floor. Rough squares of gleaming, cast cardboard are stacked to form the bases of totemic sculptural pieces, hand-turned to produce the deep threads reminiscent of those found in machinery. These works, the intervention of the artist’s hand on original patterns, and the casting of materials used for packing and storing all emphasise the time of labour and the often hidden or disregarded personal nature of humans’ engagement with machines
It could be said that there is an intrinsic stillness and calm to the circle as a form. While circles – in the real – can spin and whirr noisily, particularly in industrial contexts, here it is as if they have paused, inviting us to likewise pause in front of them and to notice, in their carved lines and creases, or in their newly rendered smooth and shiny surfaces the artist’s deeply-considered re-imagining of their working lives and of the hands of those who have crafted and operated them. A re-imagining which, like the endless, enclosed line of the circle, suspends time and invests these forms with an enduring strength, presence and beauty.