Anomaly Island - Harriet Murray

Anomaly Island

Harriet Murray
Anomaly Island
25 November 2011 – 11 December 2011
Campbell Works
Belfast Road
Stoke Newington
London N16


Anomaly Island

Harriet Murray's new body of work Anomaly Island playfully explores memories of personal and collective history.  Her visual and cerebral journey examines our relationships with each other along with recent social political turbulences and aspects of Britain's past. She invites visitors to immerse and follow her journey as well as offering a platform for their own interpretations and recollections.

When entering Campbell Works the installation 'Natural Selection' a silver gafa taped bubble wrap Union Jack welcomes the visitors. The re-branded British flag appears fresh and nonchalant, signalling change to revised thoughts and new experiences.

The main gallery displays six works, one installation, three sculptural pieces and two wall pieces. 'Island' an 'Englishman's Castle' as Murray refers too, an installation captivating and dominating by nature.  At first glance the piece conveys stability and solidity, but when crawling inside one soon becomes aware of its fragility.  The carefully arranged memorabilia, a labour of love, presents private and shared experiences as well as the precarious environment we live in. The dwelling is bordered with three plastic plants each decorated with various objects suggesting metaphors of a rural myth.

The 'Woodpecker Joiner’ a fascinating entanglement constructed from robes and fishing nets. It is a poetic and an accomplished piece that conveys protectionism, whereas the wood pecker is inspecting the nest for unwanted intruders.

An aluminium oval is transformed into a memorial plaque and decorated with bound tried seaweed and shells.  The work is titled ’Foreshore Dream 3’ and mirrors melancholy and emptiness. Is this an expression of angst and sorrow?

In the adjacent gallery we find Murray's most powerful work 'Anomaly'.  The mast of a ghostly raft is suggestive of a slim primitive wooden figure, standing on the prow, an early ancestor stranded and forlorn, perhaps?   With persistence he gazes calmly into a distant world in hope of finding humanity and compassion.  This scenario is heightened by the video work 'Asylum' showing repetitive gentle ocean waves, echoing abundance and isolation.

Murray's works are thoughtfully and meticulously constructed and executed. Some of her pieces exuberate with imagination; others are loaded with observations and political references engaging the onlooker in the conundrum and struggle of humankind.  It is refreshing to find an artist not succumbed by market doctrines.  Her artistic practice is exciting; she creates stimulating pieces with profound meaning and presents an honest response to our chaotic and restless world.  

Renée Pfister, 2011

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