Text by Marcelle Holt
Since its launch twelve months ago, PAPER Gallery based at Mirabel Studios has been carving out a space for itself in the city, as a micro gallery selling affordable art, and exploring paper as both medium and subject. Now with seven exhibitions under its belt, PAPER takes a new turn and launches its first artist-in-residence scheme, inviting artist Rachel Wrigley to occupy the site for six weeks. The PAPER residency marks Rachel’s homecoming to the North West, since graduating in 2012 from Fine Art Sculpture at Wimbledon College of Art.
Visiting on a quiet, late Saturday afternoon a few weeks into the residency, I am greeted by Wrigley who talks me through her work, and how she is drawing on a years worth of documentation gathered in her sketchbooks, something that has been a constant activity and companion. The sketchbooks became a source of solace, a way to keep connected with her practice while she adapted to life after art school, resulting in a significant collection of documentation and drawings, that she could use as a starting point for this residency. Wrigley’s previous work has explored casting aspects of buildings, both internal and external, and subtly manipulating the casts, or displacing them, creating a gentle rippling of disorientation. Domestic objects, interiors and architecture feature prominently and continue to inspire her research, which is evident in her drawings and collage especially.
Wrigley has been directly connecting with the existing gallery furniture, casting a small cupboard with paper pulp, which she rolls out like a blanket. As the pulp settles into the surface; it takes on every mark and every crevice of the object resulting in a white paper crust that is both a document and a mask of the original. The piece is not one that she is comfortable with and expressing a degree of frustration, Wrigley sighs ‘I need to leave it alone for now’. I press a little, keen for more detail or justification but I sense a retreat. This moment reminds me that we are inside a situation, an ongoing concern, There are no resolutions, and statements are not necessary. This residency is providing a space for dialogue between the artist and her practice. The open studio days allow you a glimpse into a usually private process which is full of both vulnerabilities and possibilities, and this is the real treat.
Rachel Wrigley – Exploring PAPER continues until 28th September 2013, open every Saturday 11am – 5pm.
Marcelle Holt is an artist based in Manchester.