In a window, and on white beams that stretch across a double height room, Kate Newby has installed All the stuff you already know (2018), a thoughtfully site-specific platform of handmade terracotta bricks. These have been gouged out, scraped and jabbed at – the product, seemingly, of ritualistic fury. Placed (or scattered?) on top are tens, maybe hundreds of small objects: ring pulls, clay fragments, brass twigs and seed husks. Like Cathy Wilkes’ assemblages, Newby’s installations preserve the remnants of an unseen ceremony.
Downstairs, suspended glass sculptures resemble plastic bags filled with water. The piece, colloquially titled Try it with less pennies and direct light (2017–18), is a recreation of a Midwestern American insect repellent: ‘unwanted flies are disoriented by [the bags’] anomalous volume, and have been known to lose equilibrium and fall out of the air,’ writes Sam Korman in the accompanying text. Newby’s practice is as much about ritual and folk knowledge as it is about reconsidering these humble objects. Other works litter the downstairs gallery, including stacks of clay shells, hung from the ceiling with delicate wire. A close look yields a reward: each is inlaid with jewel-hued glass.
- Figgy Guyver