Tuesday 25th May 2021 to
Saturday 12th June 2021
Our exhibition will explore the main festival’s key strands of concern; climate, protest and rebellion and imperial legacy, under the title of Breaching the Boundary. We will explore the estuary’s role not only in a historical/militaristic sense, but also as a borderline, as a frontier in ongoing conflicts such as climate change and development.
We plan that the new work will be locality specific and with local connections to the North Kent estuary shoreline east of Gravesend. For Jon, it will be series of pieces exploring the sentinel like Army Forts in the estuary. The forts were constructed in Gravesend, however it is a history that is becoming forgotten.
Mercedes will focus on the connections and movements of the estuary. Inspired by a day walking through the route Jon used to create his piece “Devil’s Porridge”, Mercedes will be producing some new works which respond to the constant state of motion of the estuary. Fascinated by the estuary’s large tidal movement compared to her native Mediterranean Sea, which is almost unnoticeable, she will be exploring the connections and movements of the daily tides, the human intervention to control the movement, the scale of the natural forces inherent in the tidal movements, and in some ways capturing the moods of the estuary.
We want people to consider perhaps less known or forgotten histories or issues regarding the locality, and do this by placing an artistic thread into these local subjects. For example, in the case of Jon’s work the potential for exploring local memories and histories of the Army forts through the lens of say rebellion of pirate radio, or the now diminishing legacy of the Gravesend dockyards and their role in making the forts. Our aim is to instil an appreciation of things perhaps overlooked or never contemplated as something worthy of experiencing, we hope visitors will go away with a thought to looking more closely at their own area, or going to new places in it.
We had originally planned to have the show at the Blake Gallery in Gravesend, sadly due to COVID-19 this venue is no longer available. The new plan is to have a virtual show hosted via the Gravesham Arts Salon and on our own platform. If availability and regulations permit we are looking into having a pop-up show in Gravesend at some point during the festival programme.
About the artists
Jon Faragher and Mercedes Balle are recent graduates who share a studio and work together on various projects.
Jon is a multi-media visual artist with a diverse skill set ranging from printing to video installations. He is interested in using technology for art making. Jon has a passion for things which could be described as techno-fossils, obsolete objects that have now become a hidden or forgotten part of the fabric of the urban or rural landscape. His practice, a form of technological archaeology brings together research and making. He uses his technological knowledge, arising from a prior career in engineering, to investigate these techno-fossils and make artistic pieces based on his findings. This allows him to produce works which have a unique perspective of places or objects. Aesthetically, Jon usually refers to modes of display or methods of information presentation which are redolent of the practice of engineering, for example laser scanning, CAD drawings and technological site processes.
Mercedes has a long-time fascination with the sublime. Her work is rooted in this relationship between humans and nature, which she explores through different forms of art such as video, installation, photography, sculpture, drawing and painting. Working on this subject in the urban landscape of London, she realised how construction materials are probably the most significant disconnection between nature and herself. She feels a disconnection created by the layers and layers of human interventions and constructions that lie between her and the open expanse of nature. Furthermore, living at this time of climate emergency, she senses an urgency to use materials to create art in a way that is consistent with her concerns for the future of the planet.
Photo: Jon Faragher