Texturen des Ortes Version II

Texturen des Ortes Version II

11 April until 18 May 2019

This was a two-person exhibition of my sculpture and objects alongside another artist’s paintings in a second version of Textures of Place/Texturen des Ortes at the Inselgalerie in Berlin. The collaboration explores the juxtapositions of visual idioms to reflect on the immediacy and distance of place. Key concerns are material presence, surface and texture
A first version of the collaboration was shown at Strzemiński Academy of Art Łódź from 3rd to 26th April 2017.

Deborah Gardner’s research tests how sculpture practices can generate complexity and interactivity, thereby commenting on physical and societal growth structures and systems. The work is often initiated by studying the growth patterns of such things as clusters and colonies or a response to space/place, such as imaginary journeys to the far side of the Moon.

New Doggerland I Lumen Gallery, Bethnal Green, London

Lumen Gallery, Bethnal Green London

New Doggerland is a project about future land and humans. It asks questions to which the exhibitors and participants will respond with different ideas and answers. Who will be living there and how? It may evoke a Ballardian dystopia, or ideas of possible Utopia. Or could New Doggerland be the heterotopia where we go to experience ‘other’ selves, a place of becoming?

Deborah Gardner considers future shifting plant environments from the local to the alien and imaginary considerations of plants in space, partly inspired by recent images of NASA’s experiments with growing plants on space craft and science fiction visions of extra-terrestrial colonisation. She has imagined her work and New Doggerland as a manifestations from the sentient ocean in Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris

Art & Science: another way of looking

Art & Science: another way of looking

School of Design, University of Leeds

23rd January – 15th February 2019

Bruning- Richardson and Gardner found, during discussions surrounding their research areas, that they share interests in manifestations of cellularity, multiplicity, propagation, and migration, as well as a consideration of correlations between the micro and the macro, from the cosmos to the interior body. In their first public engagement event during Leeds Light Night 2017, Gardner made sculptures with neon helium balloons as a means of testing to what extent art works can operate as working tools, which may cultivate insight into Bruning- Richardson’s discussion with members of the public on her most recent research activity and ideas of nuclei and migration.
Anke is a cancer researcher, now based at Huddersfield University. She is investigating new ways to diagnose and treat aggressive cancers, such as brain tumours. She is actively involved in public engagement and outreach work; where she often encounters a reluctance on her audience’s part to fully engage, as cancer is still often seen as a death sentence. Colourful images of cancer cells, created as part of her research, are beautiful and perceived as such when the viewer does not know what he/she is looking at, enabling a dialogue and taking away associated fears and misconceptions.
Deborah’s work is inspired by the growth patterns of physical phenomena and, most recently, by her microscope observations of botanic solutions at Leeds Discovery Centre and Anke’s images of cells shared in collaborative activity. Deborah’s sculptures explore ideas of accumulation and multiplicity, where the making is improvisatory. The conceptualisation and articulation of sculpture is driven through tactile approaches to material and construction. The sculptures test how static structures may be imbued with a sense of speed, mutation and development.

More in Common

More in Common

A.P.T GalleryLondon

6-16th September 2019

More in Common considers a new post Brexit national landscape, questioning communal and societal belonging and identity and what might be a divided, tumultuous political geography. This exhibition proposes to bring together four related projects all of which directly address these issues through the creative arts. These projects are ongoing or very recently undertaken. Geographically they span much of the UK, from Cumbria to Yorkshire, from Lincolnshire to London. They all engage with those voices that are less heard. They all respond to political and cultural places and spaces, and between them consider systems of language and communication. This stimulated multivalent considerations on societal spaces, aspirations and how behaviours might co/operate now. These distinctive places, under investigation were reconfigured in the gallery, so becoming a productive space for new dialogues and meanings to emerge. The exhibition included audio-visual work, assemblage, painting, photography, sculpture and typography.
Gardner and Millar exhibited work from their site responsive project Conway Actants at Conway Hall, Holborn. Conway Hall is one of the oldest international societies for freethinking with a rich history of radical thinking, social political activism and currently claims one of its main visions is for radical ideas to inspire social and community improvement. More in Common exhibited an assemblage of manipulated photographs of leading figures from Conway Hall’s history alongside images, assemblages and sculpture which explore spaces and structures propagated by human and non-human agency and which point to collective endeavour.

Collections and Contingency

Collections and Contingency

Leeds Discovery Centre, Carlisle Road, Leeds

August – December 2018

Collections and Contingency was an exhibition of sculpture and microscopic photography placed in and around the artefacts and specimens within the store room of Leeds Discovery Centre. This project was part of a new funded scheme to promote novel collaborations between Leeds Museums and Galleries (LMG) and the Cultural Institute at the University of Leeds.

The exhibition explores how contemporary art, made in response to a natural science collection can prompt new understanding and insights into the structure, matter and growth patterns of certain specimens. The focus was on the huge collection of botanical and zoological slide preparations held within beautiful wooden slide cabinets. The selection of slides range over decades, possibly spanning a hundred years and lack specific data meaning they are not useful for scientific research and yet the range speaks of a fascinating hidden history. Since these slides are rarely viewed and are difficult to show on public tours of the storage space, it was decided to reveal the hidden treasures through artwork.

Using light microscopy, a series of large digital prints were made of examples such as pollen, seeds, bark, leaves, fungi or oyster embryos and crystallised silver. Some of the specimens were magnified up to a 0.1 of a millimetre revealing glorious patterns, shapes and colours. Many of the sculptures responded to items within the storage racks, such as crystals, corals, fossils and rocks. The art works were placed at points where they indicate what may be contained within more enclosed storage, but also make for surreal and interesting interactions with other elements of the collections.

Contemporary art interventions with historical collections and natural specimens need not explain or describe what these collected items are, but rather work with them to nudge us to think further of how they were formed, their various characteristics and how closely they relate to artistic making and materials.

Landscape, Art and Uncertainty

Landscape, Art and Uncertainty

Southampton City Art Gallery

7 September 2013 – 5 January 2014

This exhibition consisted of works by Iain Biggs, Deborah Gardner, Melanie Rose and Judith Tucker. Each artist was invited to exhibit existing works or make new work in response to selected paintings and prints from Southampton Gallery’s Neo-Romantic collection. Gardner exhibited another version of World within World, made during the artists’ residency at Armley Mills, in response to Stanley Spencer’s painting Pound Field Cookham and a new work made in direct response to John Piper’s Portland Foreshore. World within World (version II) sought to form spatial compositional comparisons with Spencer’s work through devices of partial viewing, made mysterious and elsewhere by the screening of trees, branches and distance. Portland Isle explored the dramatic use of lighting in Piper’s print and its reference to an uncanny landscape and theatrical space.

This exhibition was accompanied by the LAND2 symposium Uncertain Exchanges, where Gardner presented a paper titled Shifting Ground: Navigation and Negotiation

Placing the Mill

This exhibition came out of Gardner and Tucker’s artists’ residency at Armley Mills Industrial Museum. Gardner considers the poetic potential in situating a miniaturised landscape within an enclosed world. The sculpture attempts to spatially map a walk along the canal from the train station to Armley Mills and represent its aligning thoroughfares within the interior space of the mill itself, prompting a dialogue with Tucker’s drawings on ways in which we might experience, recollect and perceive place.

Monument Musée des Beaux arts, Calais


 Musée des Beaux arts,       Calais

  20 September – 30 November 2014

Gardner was invited to exhibit the work Yorkshire Monument as part of the series of exhibitions concerning ideas of the monument.Publicity for the project tells us:

“Monument is almost the same word in French and English, pronounced differently, but needing no translation. It carries with it similar associations of commemoration, grandeur, endurance and impact.
This exhibition is part of an EU Interreg funded, cross-channel collaboration between galleries in England, Normandy and the Pas de Calais. These regions have in common 20th century war memorials that are a feature of nearly all towns and villages.
Monument draws together works by artists who address the idea of the monument in a great variety of ways. With the centenary of the First World War and the 70 year anniversary of the Normandy landings as our starting place, some of the work on show addresses conflict and memory directly associated with these events. Other works expand on the monument theme more generally, to question the scale and nature of the monumental, the changing significance of monuments and the rituals associated with them and the way we express private or collective memory. Some of the works are more directly about monuments, while others challenge the concept and our expectations. By bringing these works together the curators of this exhibition aim to consider the concept of the monument both as a legacy of war, and also as a vehicle for individuals and communities to make public expressions of memory.”


Site Response and Landscape

These works are made from a response to a sense of place. Certain sculptures, such as the ‘Hidden Depths’ sculptures, respond to the regeneration site of Burslem Port Canal in Stoke. The chinaware sourced from potteries, which once thrived in the immediate area are submerged in clear resin, much like the narrow boats, which once brought material to supply the pottery industry were deliberately submerged in the waters when a decline in demand descended on the area. ‘Laid to Rest’ made for a site at West Norwood Cemetry, London and ‘Reverie’ made for a former church yard at  Lincolnshire explore the close relation between sleep, death, and sculpture. The ‘Hive’ works and Library shelf works at Conway Hall, London explore structures and images of vibrant assemblies, which may relate to the radical social history of the institution and the bee hive culture active on the roof of the building. The landscape works made for a co curated exhibition at Huddersfield Art Gallery as responses to sculptures from the Arts Council collection and the legacy of the textile industrial history on the landscape in West Yorkshire and how this industry’s architecture shaped the land. The landscape in the domestic space plays with ideas of imaginary journeying and a collision of the interior and exterior within the space of the home, inviting notions of the uncanny and a dreamscape.