Rag and Bone
Silicone rubber, terrazzo, concrete, aluminium 2m x 1.2m x 1.9m 2019
Fibreglass 1.50m x 1m x 1.1m 2019
PARC Residency and Exhibition: Katrin Hanusch, Àngels Miralda, Georgina Sleap & Lucy Tomlins
Museo etnológico, C/ Estatuto / 12194 Vall d’Alba, Castellón, Spain
28 August – 3 September 2019
Extract from exhibition text by Àngels Miralda -
Lucy Tomlins works with everyday materials and the re-making of common objects. Historical and monumental sculpture relies on the reproduction of objects, Tomlins consciously uses the process of mimesis to question why certain objects need to be copied. When placed in new locations and contexts, these familiar forms change their symbolism and meaning.
Tomlins’ newest project involves experimentation with the direct casting of an olive tree and reinvents our connection to this locally ubiquitous being. Vall d’Alba is surrounded by fields of olive trees which are an essential part of the agricultural economy. While they are a familiar visual reference in the town, to the British artist they are more a symbol of something
mythological or exotic. In an initial stage, Tomlins prepared the bark of a tree to create a sculptural cast. Using silicone, the form was pushed into the material and removed from the tree. This imprint captures the roughness and texture of the bark in a gelatinous and moving substance that begins to look more animal than vegetable.
The tree becomes a hide-like object and produces an uncanny form in this material transformation. This silicone is paired with a stone and metallic structure whose process takes methods from construction, concrete casting, and the production of decorative floors. Arranged on scaffolding above the blue concrete, the structure creates a dialogue between baroque forms, a closed composition of movement and interaction, and dialogue between the organic and synthetic. The two materials (silicone cast and concrete steps) try to imitate natural materials (olive tree and sedimentary rock) but their process of production is man-made elaboration. This asserts that these materials have an inherent value that legitimates their reproduction and relates sculptural thinking to the industrial.
Like Sleap’s project dealing with weaving, the tactile knowledge of an object is significant for the development of our minds and lifestyle of interaction with materials. If normally this knowledge comes from working the land or in this case, replicating a tree’s bole, maybe sculpture is a useful thought process in order to keep contact and conviviality with our environment. The work is an output of juxtapositions that signals a material shift between the hard, rough, living matter, and the pink, soft, sinuous texture of the rubber with characteristic dents of bark permeating through.
The fibreglass cocoon of the tree is found in the outer courtyard. This beige object is called an “outer jacket” and normally acts as a brace or exoskeleton for the silicone reproduction. In this case, it is displayed as a fallen form that recalls another agricultural theme. The open composition returns us to the pastoral tradition exemplified in the “horn of plenty” mythologised in art history as cornucopia – a conical form filled with the goods of harvest. Transmogrified into a semi-abstract form, it appears as a symbol of bountifulness and abundance whilst the original trees’ olives mature for picking.