Catherine Haley Epstein: Without knowing the background or context of the piece, the work is extremely provocative, and to me successfully shouts a sense of being stuck, of claustrophobia and of an accident. Reading more in your comments and now realizing it commemorates a central laundry service mainly staffed by women, I wondered if you had any knowledge of the feminist movement of the last 1/3 of the 20th century where slogans such as "the personal is political" was the rallying cry. It's an important turn of perspective - realizing that the personal, that which happens in private, inevitably becomes public and therefore political. This stands counter to the adage you shared that dirty laundry should not be washed in public. Inevitably dirty laundry becomes public AND political - there are really no borders, the borders are constructs we create to comfort ourselves. Thank you for the thought provoking piece!
Rodney Harris: Thank you for your comments and revealing perspective. I agree that we create borders for our own ends and which support political ideals. Apparently the richest areas of biodiversity are found in and around borders between sea and land, river and land etc. This has parallels within the edges of our societies and exploring these borders are a rich source of inspiration. Of course a brick wall is an almost permanent border, yet manipulating its surface plasticity introduces questions about its nature.
I was not aware of the feminist movements slogan - "the personal is political", of course it is true, and interestingly the laundry on show will become dirty over time supporting your statement that inevitably dirty laundry becomes public and political! It also reminds me of the Victorian idea that you should always wear clean underwear just in case you are killed and people have to remove your clothes. How shameful to be found dead, and in dirty underwear!
aldobranti fosco fornio: this work resonated with me having just scanned above Richard Hughes "The first one" -- a fist and finger emerging from a wall, so a visual similarity but saying different things -- the candle referencing a timelessness in religion, this work pointing to the eternal of the quotidian.
but the plasticity of clay, none of it truly lost by firing also presses my buttons from the first ceramics classes thro the squidginess of wet processing photographic film
Etty Yaniv: Love this work! It's precise yet open ended like a good poem. It is quite a challenge to avoid a one liner trap and be able to convey complexity in a concise way, which is both iconic and open to interpretations. In my mind, Public art is most evocative when it functions like an immediately recognizable sign mixed with an element of the unexpected, the extraordinary. Passing by your work, would make me stop, look and think about the juxtaposition between cloth and brick, mobile and stationary, soft and stiff, body and architecture, private and public and the associations go on and on. I hope I get a chance to see it in person one day.
Rodney Harris: Thank you for your comments Etty. You have referred to many of the juxtapositions that exist in the work, brick is a medium which continues to fascinate me. I like the fact that it is a common vernacular material at the lower end of the scale of materials. It is an abundant natural resource in this area and so to use it for sculpture is like using wood in a forest. Also I think it is the illusion apparent in brick relief which adds to its appeal.
Janet Curley Cannon: This is a wonderful public art piece, it will make passers-by stop and observe their surroundings, contextually working for those that remember a laundry use to be at the site and those that don't, those that like 'Art' and those that say they don't understand art. I like your comment about the 'dirtiness' that will accumulate on the work, perhaps a future performance art piece of 'washing'?. Curious to know was this a work commissioned/funded by the local council or a private commission?
Rodney Harris: Thank you Janet.
The piece was commissioned by a private company, a commercial property developer under the section 106 planning law. If you are not aware this law forces developers to include some aspect of public art or community development in their development. The local council were involved as they had to approve the work and they provided a little funding for a workshop in a local school. Its a great law and has funded a lot of public art in the UK.
I agree that the work is accessible for local people to read, hopefully its simplicity is engaging and engenders curiosity in the viewer.
Light is fundamental to how the work is seen, and how it changes over the day and seasons is one of the most interesting factors in placing artwork in the environment.
Yes is it interesting how it will weather and the laundry will get dirty over time, I will revisit the work periodically and photograph it, and a performance would be fantastic, thanks for the ideas.
Rodney Harris: Thank you for your comments.
I think it is important when making work which has a specific reason for its existence that it is able to stand alone without its history being known. Therefore there is no interpretation information at the site, it encourages passers by to enquire or think about why it is there. Any form of public art does not necessarily have to justify its existence, but if it becomes successful will determine if it survives in the long term.
Using the fabric of the building as the medium for the artwork certainly embeds it until the building is destroyed. It also gives it a permanence which is interesting to explore through an artwork. In fact the washing hanging on the line will ironically get dirty over time, it will be interesting to see how it weathers.
Robert McCubbin: I like the idea of celebrating the past use of this site with a brick relief sculpture.
The former utilitarian use and need of the building now encoded and permanently recorded for all to see. It's importance to the commumity of the time now fixed in the 'present' as a reminder of the past.