Was a touring exhibition between Abingdon Studios & Bloc Projects by artist Charlotte Dawson, containing pieces developed during Abingdon Studios’ 2020 Work/Leisure Residency and produced remotely in her Sheffield-based studio. The exhibition ties both locations together through a body of work that utilises the forms of commonplace homeware. The sculptures allude to the use of ordinary objects as both purposeful facilitators of work and as commemorative and complex harbourers of sentiment.
"The work that I’m presenting in this exhibition has come from a period of making between two separate locations. Whilst I was visiting Blackpool to source inspiration, I was also garnering lots of influence from my environment in Sheffield and through the processes of making the pieces. The work has this connection between these two locations but it doesn’t belong to either fully.
When I was working towards exhibiting the pieces, I wanted to visually show this connection through the curatorial choices we made in each exhibition. The pieces in Blackpool sat within the context of the labour of that location. Displayed on industrial dishwasher racks to pay homage to the service and leisure industries. Seen in a transition between an arrival or departure that was never defined.
The pieces here at Bloc Projects also contain that unsettled nature. They sit within units of display, designed to reference household cabinetry, but also transportation, with material connections to travel crates. The work is presented in a vision of transition. As the second exhibition, referencing this through display feels appropriate, as it provides a context not only to the journey between the exhibitions but also to the context of the pieces. A return back to their location of production but also a collection of souvenirs from somewhere else.
Some of the pieces in this exhibition have had strong curatorial shifts from the previous exhibition, specifically the white Sugar Rock plates. These pieces were positioned in Blackpool as being in the process of cleaning, whether the food was waiting to be removed or the plates had been cleaned leaving their surfaces white. At Bloc the plates have risen to a higher status, presented against a background of strong blue with a border referencing the applied design choices on commemorative plates. These white plates, removed from an environment where their real-life counterparts can be found in any sea front store, find a new context as treasured objects. A comment on the process of souvenir creation, where the mass produced can become treasured.
The pieces included in this exhibition take inspiration from many sources. Each ‘plate’ asks the viewer to consider function, or lack there of. By presenting plates that mimic the extravagant design choices of traditional ceramics. To the plates that play off the commemorative, decorative object of function. Others simply highlight the multiple and personal adaptations that occur through the continual and everyday use of plates. Each in a rendition cast in Jesmonite, the material choice of the work removes any viable function from the sculptures.
Mainly there's a partnership in the work, an understanding between two driving forces. In The plate as an object, between two seemingly disparate concepts, decoration and function. Commemoration and disposability. Presented in two exhibitions pairing each location with the other through a body of work which relied on both for its creation."
Images by Peter Martin
Here/There was supported by Arts Council England through a successful National Lottery Project Grant. The exhibitions were delivered in partnership between Bloc Projects and Abingdon Studios. The artwork included in both exhibitions was commissioned by Abingdon Studios, Blackpool as part of WORK/LEISURE 2 (2020). Supported by Arts Council England's Emergency Response Fund.