Alison Turnbull - Like a Secret Spring in a Well-ordered Machine

Exhibitions and events

Alison Turnbull - Like a Secret Spring in a Well-ordered Machine

2014 - 26th September 14

General event

Alison Turnbull transforms readymade information - plans, diagrams, blueprints - into abstract paintings.  Recently she has explored star charts and the architecture of spaces relating to the study of the night sky. At Shandy Hall she is showing new paintings that reconfigure in various ways a found image of distant galaxies, assembled by astronomers over a ten-year period from photographs taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.

In addition, Turnbull has collaborated with designer Simon Elvins to make Marbled Page, a print that gathers and disperses the English and Latin names of all the macro-moths that have been lured by light, trapped, identified and released at Shandy Hall. Displayed on a large table, the print is, so to speak, a simulacrum of a moth trap.  Butterflies and moths have long been of interest to Turnbull and in 2010 she was artist-in-residence in the Entomolgy Department at the Natural History Museum. Marbled Page invokes both a celebrated Shandyism and the 18th Century nomenclature for various moths - for instance Tawny Marbled Minor and Lunar Marbled Brown.

Although their relationship to the night sky is obvious - moths, after all, navigate by the moon and the stars and are both drawn to and confused by artificial light - it is their essential 'invisibility' that makes them compelling as subjects for Turnbull.  The human eye will never witness the most remote stars; similarly, many species of moth remain largely unseen. Perhaps they dramatise the problems inherent in making and looking at art.

Alison Turnbull was born in 1956 in Bogota, Colombia, and lives and works in London. She studied in Madrid before graduating from Bath Academy in 1981. Recent exhibitions include: Alison Turnbull De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill (2013-2014): Alison Turnbull, Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh (2012); Galapagos, touring exhibition, Gulbenkian Galapagos Artists' Residency Programme (2012-2013), Green Oak Aqua Modern, Russian Club Gallery, London (2011) and Observatory, Matt's Gallery, London (2010). Turnbull is currently collaborating on a book with writer Philip Hoare, about Linn Botanic Gardens in west Scotland, produced by Cove Park.  Her work is included in the Arts Council Collection, the British Council Collection, the Imperial War Museum and other public and private collections.

Simon Elvins was born on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent in 1981 and graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2006.  He is an independent designer based in London.

Alison Turnbull is represented by Matt's Gallery, London. 

This exhibition is supported by Arts Council England. 

OPEN daily (except Saturday) 11am - 4.30pm 

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