Shifting Subjects is now open at the Abbey Walk Gallery. The show opened on Wednesday. It features commissioned work by Wendy Elia, Linda Ingham and myself, and pieces by Sarah Lucas and Miranda Whall.
Annay McNay writes:
“Out of the three commissioned artists, Margaret Ashman deals with the notion of artist-audience communication the most directly. The sign dance she performs in her film comprises an artistic combination of dance steps and sign language for the deaf, rendering a rough translation of a poem she wrote in the journal she kept as part of this project. Throughout the dance Ashman seems partly to be communicating with, partly to be unaware of the audience. As a devout Christian, whose religiosity infuses her work, she might perhaps be deemed to be in communication with God. The sequence could be a slow meditation, a yoga-like salutation. Holding her hands together in prayer, uttering ‘Amen’, and then towards the end of the film, a sudden burst of spoken speech: ‘In the beginning was the word’. Ashman makes explicit the significance of language and communication as a means to define the self. Her choice to show the film alongside photo etchings gives rise to a multiplicity of languages and different levels of metarepresentation, emphasising the many possible translations and modes of expression of the self; there is no one sign, or subject+identity, that defines an autobiography. Across time and space everything shifts.”