The exhibition ‘Stone Soup’ stems from conversations, image sharing and notes exchanged between Mark Barker and Terence McCormack that began early last year. This exhibition seeks to understand what is shared or what might even become the same temporary concern – either by dint of need or feeling. Left to r.r. 2023 is a work conceived during the installation of the exhibition in which the windows of the gallery space have been painted black. Dog hair has also been delicately applied using the same colour of exterior paint to various points on the window. The legibility of reading ‘left to right’ has been reframed or reduced to ‘rr’ – a stammer, hesitation or rolling sound in the mouth or the mind. The work also makes an oblique reference to the initials of Roland Ross. Family Zone, 2023 is the third in a trilogy of ‘double’ slide projected works that Terence McCormack has made specially for this show.
The work is a culmination of two framed works that have developed from his photographic practice that considers subtle shifts in the economics of sameness, desire and what is bearable. These photographs made across the fens and the estuaries, take the barren and un-dredgeable as both picturesque and alienated. Thinking across open landscapes as places of family life or into distinct zones that precludes other defined groups. These are woven with studio photography of snails and coloured film of London’s West End toilets that have become well-known for soliciting, cruising and theft.
The central wooden cabinet, Stone Soup, 2023 was purchased from one of the many antique shops that are found on the same street as the gallery. Bought without a specific aim but to act as a repository for materials collected during the install. The cabinet now houses turnips in part inspired by the recent appearance of the turnip in the news but also of the found lack of imagery of the vegetable in the tradition of landscape, still life painting. The cabinet also acts as a container for Terence McCormack’s Marriage, 2022.
A photographic facsimile of an article found among the pages of a Woman’s Own magazine from 1987 while they were looking for another source material. The article introduces HIV/AIDS into the heterosexual sphere, which at the time was alien to the idea of monogamy and trust.
In Mark Barker’s Untitled, 2023, a painted church on latex is rendered in food colouring; a digestible material typically reserved for dessert and other fancy concoctions. Olymp ventilation screen Berlin, b & Dixi ventilation screen Berlin, a, 2022 are part of a series of images that document Portaloo ventilation grids found by the artist around Berlin. They are poorly functioning, a visible record of the putrid and closed interior. Here in stark black and white, the images are both an instruction manual in the taxonomy of ventilation design but also the corporeal processes that are enclosed away from view.