Exhibition Review by Cadi Froehlich LG
The reopening of art galleries has been a breath of fresh air for minds and bodies starved of cultural nourishment during the past year, and where better to breathe it than right on the prom at the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, East Sussex.
Holly Hendry’s site specific installation is also most apt, as the elements of the body, the building, and the landscape are flayed open here for our consideration and appreciation.
Hendry uses a refined sculptural pallet to consider the huge unseen, and this focus helps us to find a way in to relate to the huge concerns addressed here. Biology, architecture and climate concerns are all subjects which we struggle to fully understand, and by peeking round the edges and slicing and exposing materials, Hendry has offered a glimpse into these worlds.
Using recognisable construction materials such as mdf and hardcore taken from local building projects, the artist has brought a currency into the space, as these were sourced from projects forced to close down due to the global pandemic. Here they have been repurposed, carved and clad.
The iron work, silicon and perspex contrast in strength, surface and transparency with the solid constructions which support them. Plaster elements provide a hint of organic forms which can’t quite be identified, but echo parts of the body, along with parts of the building they occupy.
Chunks missing from the clad walls reference Hendry’s external installation of a worm-like object titled Invertebrate, which has rampaged through the building. Though the perfected finish on the edges of these holes seemed incongruous to an organic attack, this vulnerability and destruction, and the obviously man-made make-up of these worms, suggest a strong human hand in this damage.
The historic building of the DLWP itself is threatened by rising sea levels and the havoc wrought by worsening weather patterns.
Part concealed behind the cladding before being offered up to us as chunks of views, this seascape on the doorstep is made more present.
As a maker myself, I was frustrated at first to be presented with some works whose making was visible in contrast to some of the finishes, but on reflection I feel that the perfection presented on the edges of the worm bites contrasted really well, to reinforce to me the weight of responsibility we all share for our built environment which shelters us, along with the natural environment upon which we depend.
HOLLY HENDRY: INDIFFERENT DEEP and INVERTEBRATE
Wednesday 19 May – Monday 30 August
Ground floor gallery
De La Warr Pavilion
Invertebrate is a major outdoor commission presented in collaboration with England’s Creative Coast as part of Waterfronts: a landmark series of seven outdoor art commissions that celebrates and connects the creative coastlines of East Sussex, Kent and Essex.