Knot Together

Fabiola Alcaraz | Ivan Daggett | Anthony Stapleton | Sue Wagstaff

Courtyard Arts Gallery

5th – 30th October 2021

An exhibition that brings together two sets of friends whose work explores themes which interlink and overlap with each other. Mediums include drawing, painting, collage and textile printing, stained glass and clay installation and wood sculpture.

Come along and see the exhibition and discover how the ideas and materials of these four artists weave together. 

Fabiola Alcaraz

In my work I explore the interactive elements of linocut and screen prints, textiles and cut-outs. I set my images in acrylic, ink and construct them through collage. The finished works are surreal, abstract landscapes.

I work and live in Enfield, North London. And, I was born and grew up in Guanajuato, which is a semi desertic region of central Mexico. The places from where I started permeate the scenes which I make through the imagination. My pictures are like stories inside dreams.

Ivan Daggett

In the mid 1980’s (my early 20’s) I carved a series of small wooden objects with my penknife. During this time, I was influenced by a book called ‘Touch the Earth’ by T. C. McLuhan which portrayed the painful disappearance of a people and way of life through a selection of statements and writings by Native Americans. The objects I made did not have any specific purpose but I wanted them to have a sense of having been made by these people, whose values I identified with as a young adult. I have shown them here in this exhibition as they are linked to my current ideas.

For this exhibition, I have made a series of ambiguous-looking tools that were inspired by Eubuleus (you-bo-lee-us), a demi-god or hero from the Demeter and Persephone stories of early Greek culture. This theme of a masculine archetypal image who watches over the emergence of a new phase of life is one I previously explored the last time I exhibited at Courtyard Arts in a solo exhibition called The Turning Point. In these myths, Eubuleus is associated with the ploughing and planting of grain. His name is also said to mean “Well-Clodded” from the words bôlos “clod of earth” and bôlostropheô “to turn up clods ploughing”. The tools I have imagined are for Eubuleus to tend the New Earth, bringing forth plentiful harvests for future generations.

The wood is Conifer and the process of making them has involved using paper templates to transfer the shapes onto the wood which are blocked out with a chainsaw, then bandsaw, rotary Dremel tools, files and sandpaper. The pencil markings and loose finish of the wood surface are deliberate.

Anthony Stapleton

I have created a series of work which I call ‘Constructing Mistakes’ using asemic writing, with blue ink and pyrographic pens, to form undefined marks on paper. I like to give the unconscious mind a free rein in order to make creative mistakes.

The everyday conscious, rational, mind finds it hard to read the signs I make in any known lexical semantic. So, the viewer will have to make sense with their own feelings attuned to not knowing where they stand or where they are going with the images. This allows, instead, for an imaginary language to be sensed, or a language of the imagination, to be understood.

When I make this work I have a sense of being lost and floundering in an unconscious dynamic of movements and feelings. I hold the pen and make marks on the paper. The marks can be seen as the tracks of a journey’s pattern. These undefined lines and scribbles record the unconscious forces of my presence as an art-maker. Which allows for an undefined way of being present.

I am an artist living and working in London.

Sue Wagstaff

Although the art works I am showing here today are made as individual pieces, I have displayed them as a small installation to express my feelings at this time. Over the last 18 months, life has been turned upside down for us all. Lives of travel and new discoveries seem to have been replaced by much smaller lives where home and its surroundings are given priority. Initially for this show I was exploring ideas related to old photographs of unidentified people in Poland. That suddenly seemed very distant to what I was experiencing, so I decided to rethink and start again for the work I am showing here today.
Something we all have had recently is time. Time to think, reflect and question our lives and value what is important. So, I started to look at what is important to me and what gives me pleasure and purpose.

For me my art and the process of making has always been there. I love to look at old ways of working and I find it comforting that the process has been undertaken for hundreds and sometimes thousands of years and I am here repeating it, but in a way that is relevant to today. Using clay and stained glass seemed an obvious choice.

My love of Africa and the Arts and Crafts Movement mixed with designs from the 1970’s and my love of plants and the natural world have all been my inspiration. I recognise in myself the need for safe environments that enable me to confidently look out on the world. My use of glass panels has both obscured and clear glass; this is to protect and view the world at the same time. The pots have been fired, smoke fired and waxed. The insides have been simply glazed to make them water tight. My use of plants, in this case the ‘Monstera’ cheese plant shout the 1970’s to me and evoke memories of sprawling plants my mum used to keep. I have chosen to avoid the use of colour wherever possible in this installation to keep things simple and uncomplicated; perhaps how I feel that I need my life to be at the moment.