Sarah Woodfine and Kim L Pace   Mercurious
Kim L. Pace, Mask 21 (Uluru) and Sarah Woodfine new bronze work

LEFT: Kim L Pace, Mask 21 (Uluru), 2019, glazed ceramic
RIGHT: Sarah Woodfine, Just as the fire burns away all dross and rubbish, so the three-fold suffering purges the heart from all impurity, 2019, bronze, 60cm x 60cm x 5cm  

Private view: Friday 28 June  6 - 9pm
29 June - 13 July 2019

Mercurius is an adumbration of the primordial light-bringer, who is never himself the light, but…who brings the light of nature, the light of the moon and the stars which fades before the new morning light.
— C.G. Jung, Alchemical Studies, para 300

Mercurious presents work by artists Sarah Woodfine and Kim L Pace. Taking its title from the Latin for Mercury, ‘Mercurius’ refers to the alchemical process of turning base metal into gold and is also an important character in alchemy, denoting self-generation and self-transformation. Pace and Woodfine are invested in how materiality relates to questions around belief, which are founded in the unknown through speculation and visions. The intensity of both their works highlights sensitivities to form and material reality and communicates a primal potency, similar to the way we are struck by nature.

On entering Mercurious, viewers will encounter a mysterious collection of strange and wonderful half-human hybrid characters, that have been drawn from the realms of the unconscious. Transitional states found in both material and human nature are explored through a selection of carefully staged works, which are presented in dialogue with one another.

Pace’s practice includes sequential drawings and ceramic sculpture. She captures subtly charged facial expressions through the malleability of clay and watercolour, her materials providing an optimal metaphor for the fluidity of identity. Reminiscent of masks, her recent works capitalise upon the psychological phenomenon ‘pareidolia’ - where we see faces in unlikely, random places like clouds and rocks. Pace is fascinated by the ability of masks to bestow magical changes, found across time and cultures. She sees them as incredibly loaded ‘performing objects’, imbued with a kind of agency.

Woodfine’s practice is rooted in the process of drawing in its expanded form. She engages with the material nature of drawing; her objects feature intensely worked surfaces. Her works pose questions about the nature of materiality in relation to perception.

These ‘drawing-sculptures’ – for they are both these things at one and the same time – operate at a level that is realistic though imaginary, being pictures formed of natural elements distended or distorted so as to assume a fantastic otherness, a striking strangeness that simultaneously seduces and repels. – Peter Suchin

On the evening of 28th June, Liz Helman will perform Mercurious, a sound work specifically composed for the exhibition opening, which explores intense ambient textures with bird sound and drone. Liz Helman is an artist working in time-based media, which includes sound. Signed to Kohlenstoff Records, Montreal, she has released two albums and performs regularly at international exhibitions and festivals.

The exhibition will be accompanied by an essay by research curator and writer Dr. Catriona McAra. Catriona McAra has published extensively on the art and literature of Dorothea Tanning and Leonora Carrington with a particular interest in feminist aesthetics and surrealist legacies in contemporary practice. She has worked closely with many contemporary artists and has written a range of catalogue essays for commercial galleries and public museums.

Kim L Pace lives and works in London and St Leonards-on-Sea. She has had over 20 solo exhibitions including Ferens Art Gallery, Hull; Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield; and Limerick City Art Gallery. Recent exhibitions and publications include The Drawer Vol 16 ‘Vert’ (2019); The Cosmic Garden, Villa Erba Lake Como, Italy and tour (2018-19); A Fantastic Fermentation of Matter, Danielle Arnaud Gallery, London (solo, 2018); The Inking Woman: 250 Years of Women Comic Artists (Myriad 2018); The Discerning Eye, Mall Galleries London (invited 2017); Curator’s Choice, Leeds Arts University (2017); A bird in the head, Danielle Arnaud, London (2017); Imaginary Worlds, Oriel Davies Gallery (2016); Birmingham Show, Eastside Projects, Birmingham (2015). Pace has also curated exhibitions, including Cult Fiction, Art & Comics, Hayward Gallery Touring, London. She currently lectures at the University of Arts London and is also working on a full-length graphic novel.

Sarah Woodfine lives and works in both London and the Isle of Portland in Dorset. Currently Course Leader for B.A Sculpture at Wimbledon College of Art, University of the Arts London, Sarah was awarded the Jerwood Drawing Prize in 2004 and was commissioned to create Nights of London, by Artangel in 2006. Woodfine exhibits nationally and internationally. Solo exhibitions include Ha Gamle Presetegard, Norway; Danielle Arnaud, London; Graves Gallery, Sheffield. Group exhibitions include Strange Worlds: The Vision of Angela Carter, RWA, Bristol; A bird in the head, curated by Sarah Woodfine and Danielle Arnaud, Danielle Arnaud, London; Flights of Fancy, Tatton Park Biennial; What the Folk Say, Compton Verney; House and Home, Harewood House; Snowdomes, National Glass Centre, Sunderland; Only Make Believe, Compton Verney, curated by Marina Warner. She is currently working on a commission researching and reinterpreting specific stone works within the Tout Sculpture Quarry Park, Portland Dorset.