Text by Stephanie Bell
Tucked away on Mirabel Street, Manchester lays the bijoux PAPER Gallery, a platform which promotes core values of an artists’ practice whilst bridging the gap between audience, artist and artwork. The space is intimate and certainly lends itself to lessening the distance between creator and receiver, with working artists constantly weaving in and out of the small lock up.
PAPER saw the new year in with artist Rachel Wrigley opening her show on the 18th January, which runs until March 1st. As the name suggests, the gallery predominantly features work utilising paper as a support, which Wrigley captures brilliantly. An artist based now based in Mirabel Studios, following her recent residency, Wrigley’s work spans the boundaries of drawing and sculpture, as her exhibition Staring at the Artex Ceiling show cases. Delicate pen drawings captured on tracing paper span around the room, depicting subtle movements and repetition, until the original form becomes almost recognisable. Carefully hung, each piece is considered, the dainty drawings command attention as they float in a sea of white space.
Through this work, Wrigley aims to capture motion and illusion, which she achieves as successfully through sculpture as with drawing. Sourcing images, often from magazines, Wrigley considers each image’s subject matter before sculpting it accordingly. Combining a series of simple and intricate folds, her work in this series is similar to her drawings; delicate but with substance.
There’s a strong nod to architecture in it’s more abstracted format, with a self – confessed influence of Rachel Whiteread’s sculptures. Distorted and unfamiliar, the folds within each piece force us to reconsider our relationship with the space around us. Wrigley does this through her choice of subject matter, often manipulating images with striking interiors. She also plays on the notion of the image as a trace, a shell of a place which may or may not be still in existence.
This idea of an unfamiliar perspective allows us to re-imagine and re-create, viewing architectural constructs as a series of malleable forms. It is the shapeable nature of paper which allows this re-visioning to be a possibility and is a testament to Wrigley’s practice and the values of PAPER that this exhibition is successful.