• The Slack Shallows

Curran, Fiona, 2022, Show, Exhibition or Event, The Slack Shallows

Abstract or Description:

The title of Fiona Curran’s exhibition The Slack Shallows is taken from a passage in J.G.Ballard’s novel The Crystal World (1966). The novel charts a journey by the character Dr Sanders into the heart of a forest which is undergoing a radical transformation through a strange process of crystallisation. Everything in the path of this mysterious virus/disease is engulfed and transformed by a technicolour encrustation of jewel-like crystals. All organic and non-organic matter has become frozen and petrified by the crystals in a process that appears to have no end. Throughout the novel the crystal world continues to spread, it exerts a seductive lure on everyone who comes into contact with it. Several characters find themselves moving towards its luminosity rather than away from it, and those who resist being absorbed by it feel a strange sense of listlessness when they escape back to the ‘old’ world. Ballard’s crystal world acts as an analogy for our contemporary moment where we increasingly inhabit a world mediated by the interface of the screen.

Works spanning painting, textiles and site-specific installation seek to navigate between what Ballard refers to as the “slack shallows” and the “endless glimmer,” revealing a recurring utopian impulse, formal idealism and sense of escapism. The presence of a heightened colour palette within Curran’s work, alongside assembled, collaged and layered surfaces, both mimics and counters the fractured, illuminated and seductive spaces of the screen, whilst immersing the viewer in a more physical and material engagement with colour and space. Materials are stacked and folded or lean precariously against a support. Structures appear to be in the process of being built, woven or stitched together, or perhaps in the process of being dismantled, falling apart, or abandoned, it’s not clear which.

ConsultantProjects, HS
The Slack Shallows5 Howick Place, London01 Dec 2022 - 30 Jun 2023One person show
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W100 Fine Art > W190 Fine Art not elsewhere classified
School or Centre: School of Design
Copyright Holders: Thierry Bal (Photos)
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2023 15:04
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2023 14:29
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/5272
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