‘Materially Measured’ is a site-specific sculptural installation, the proposal for which was selected following an invite by the curators Professor Lesley Millar and Professor Alice Kettle. The work was created for the group exhibition Fabric: Touch and Identity at Compton Verney, Warwickshire (14.3.20 - 5.11.20/extended to 17.1.21).
This work is part of a larger body of studio enquiry that explores the notion of cloth as ‘silent witness’ and the often-overlooked somatic relationship that we have with the ubiquitous everyday functional aspects of the built environment. Whilst the majority of the work in the exhibition addresses touch from the perspective of personal and cultural representational codes and conventions, my own work considers the haptic dimension of embodied experience and the corporeality of aesthetic engagement - even in the most mundane and seemingly alienating institutional settings. Instead of the usual interrogation of ‘evocative objects’ and subjective narratives, my point of departure is the self-effacing functioning body and the way that we physically assimilate with the built environment at the level of ergonomic design. Quasi furniture components standardised to the average dimensions of the body hint at practical applications; upholstered forms invite us to lean evoking a sense of reassuring comfort; softly yielding felted wool fits tightly within the wipe-clean clinical smoothness of laminate; blunt edges are softly rounded and tailored to accommodate the body; and cushioned grips and rails allow for ease of mobility and structural support.
Drawing reference from Mark Paterson’s conception of ‘the aesthetic body’ (Patterson 2007) the intention is to activate the complex dimensions of sensuous experience that operates at an unconscious level and has the capacity to awaken within the body of the viewer an affective mimetic correspondence. Moving from the obvious registering of tactility and texture within the visual; to the more inwardly oriented senses of proprioceptive awareness of bodily positioning and muscular tension, kinaesthetic awareness of movement, and vestibular awareness of balance; to the deeper more ineffable internal sensations and somatic intensities that are mobilised through the enigmatic ambiguity of the experiential encounter which resonate within the body but are difficult to define.