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.”


Yorkshire Year of Textile.  ( Arts Council England)
Bradford Industrial Museum 2017
now permanently exhibited at:
Biomedical Centre, Chapel Allerton Hospital, Leeds
In the project Interweave, Deborah Gardner was commissioned as part of an Arts Council funded yearlong artistic programme to reflect, through a body of drawing, on the effects of arthritis on hands.  The research began through Deborah’s attendance at the PPI group steering committee meeting at the Leeds Biomedical Research Centre and an Ask the Researcher event, where studies were made of patients’ hands.  The drawing Together is a recognition of the support patients and members of the group give one another and the empowerment and knowledge such events can give.  Further research involved studies of pigmented microscopic images of cellular structures and the finger like protrusions of thickening synovial fluid in the body’s joints, causing swelling and inflammation.  Underpinning these concerns was a consideration of the increased risk for textile workers to develop arthritis, an examination of weave patterns and an acknowledgement of the considerable contribution of worker’s hands in the preparation of worsted yarn for weaving at what was Moorside Mills, now Bradford Industrial Museum, where the drawings were exhibited for six months in 2017. The drawings are on permanent display at Leeds Biomedical Research Centre.

Recollect, Responses to Place, Huddersfield Art Gallery

Recollect: Responses to Place within the Collection

24 June-27 August 2011

This was a major exhibition within four galleries of the Huddersfield Art Gallery in 2011. Gardner was invited to create a series of new works, which responded to sculpture she selected from the Art Council collection, based at Longsides, Yorkshire Sculpture Park and paintings from the Kirklees collection. The focus for the exhibition addressed ideas of a sense of place and Gardner’s response very much considered West Yorkshire landscapes and the effects of the coal and textile industry in shaping the land. The exhibition included works of Christine Borland, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Mariele Neudecker, Graham Sutherland, Richard Wentworth, and Alison Wilding. The central work of the exhibition, Yorkshire Monument, referenced Castle Hill, a major landmark, visible across the region. This work has since been exhibited in the Land2 exhibition Close to Home at East Street Arts, Leeds and the exhibition Monument at the Musée des Beaux Arts de Calais, a European Union funded cross channel exhibition project Monument, organised through SVAC, UEA and Fabrica, Brighton.

Journeys through the home

Journeys around the Home is a seven-minute film made up of an exchange of still photographs between Deborah Gardner and Andrea Thoma, made in a response to the place of their homes. The film was part of the touring group exhibition European Dialogue, which began at the Inselgalerie, Berlin and toured to Spain, Italy, and Poland. The final work also has a voice-over of Gardner and Thoma’s discussion of the project and reflections on their findings, this introduces a documentary element to the work. Gardner and Thoma travelled around the home, re-examining their familiar seemingly known places, which then became sites for ongoing aesthetic exploration. These are a selection of images Gardner took travelling around her home. The process examined interrelations between a mise-en-scène and the consideration of sculpture in the context of the home. This investigation explored notions of the Uncanny and the Surrealists’ disruption of the domestic space in which dreams, memories and present perceptions coexist. At times, members of the family were co-opted into performing within the home and consequently acted as a means of also measuring the space of the home.

Conway Actants

 Conway Actants

 Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London

    13 November 2015  –  26 March 2016

This was a two-year artists’ residency, where Deborah Gardner and Jane Millar collaborated to produce and curate a site-responsive exhibition; engaging directly with the space, activities, and archives at Conway Hall (British Ethical Society), for the first time in its history. Gardner’s and Millar’s painting, Sculpture, painting, assemblages, and installations made interventions within and without the building alongside collaborative photographic works.
Gardner’s work, such as Library Hive, referenced both the bee hive co-worker culture on the roof of the building and the collective agency within. The work Marsden Rock Communities inserted in shelves within the Conway library explored the micro and macro worlds of a massive landmark Marsden Rock and how this may relate to the micro/macro assemblages of the book and the library. These operated alongside Millar’s images in the library.  A collaborative large light box work titled Inside Out with  Jane Millar was suspended outside the balcony of the Conway library and explored an inversion of interior and exterior space, exposing a point of viewing the square outside at dusk from the darkened interior.  The project, accessible to the visiting public for four months, engaged the thousands of visitors to Conway Hall in ideas around space, propagation, radicalism, and the institution. The Club Critical Theory group presented a free event Space and Propagation to discuss ideas raised in the residency and education workshops, artists’ talks, and tours of the building increased awareness of the project. Conway Hall published the catalogue Conway Actants, with images and texts by the artists and those involved closely in the project.