|Michael Boffey, Gina Soden, Danny Treacy|
|Curated by Zavier Ellis|
|PRIVATE VIEW Thursday 14 March 6.30-8.30pm|
|EXHIBITION DATES Friday 15 March – Saturday 13 April 2019|
|CHARLIE SMITH LONDON presents ‘Archaeologies’, the second exhibition of 2019 to be curated by gallery director Zavier Ellis.
The exhibition brings together three artists whose practice is rooted in photography. However, they are multi-disciplinary,
processed-based practitioners who mostly employ photography as a founding principle, which enables them to develop unique
and complex methodologies.
Fundamental to their practices is a unique and labour-intensive approach to researching, collecting, documenting and making; and
a profound meditation on the passing of time, and its effect on objects and locations. Exploring derelict churches or hospitals;
working with found objects from rivers or cruising sites; or engaging with domestic ornaments and paraphernalia, each artist uses
place and time to investigate the self, transience and mortality.
Michael Boffey embraces the historical notion of still life as memento mori. Working predominantly with flowers, Boffey makes
work in three ways: wall mounted bronzes cast from flowers; vitrines encasing vases of flowers; and large-scale photographic
works. It is the latter that illustrate the core of Boffey’s practice most conclusively. Recalling domestic interiors in which Boffey
would have grown up in the 1970’s and 80’s, which in themselves were residual of the 1950’s, Boffey prints vases of flowers
amongst other signifiers including doilies or crucifixes onto embossed wallpaper that is then painted and treated. These works are
autobiographical, with visual remnants coalescing to represent a meditation on loss, regret and reminiscence.
Gina Soden has established a process of hand printing dilapidated interiors onto found mirrors that have been treated and
corroded with industrial tools and materials. Informed by the idea of the Grand Tour, she travels to abandoned territories and
buildings throughout Europe. Soden seeks out disused public buildings including palaces, churches and asylums, often having to
access them illegally. Her objective is to transport the viewer to the location that she discovers, and to demonstrate the beauty of
decay and the poetry of ruins. In this latter sense, Soden references John Ruskin’s ‘Seven Lamps of Architecture’, a text that
became influential in summarizing thought around the 19th century Gothic revival. Ruins were of course a primary Gothic trope,
and Soden locates ideals of beauty, life, memory and truth in both decay and abandonment. Her work makes for complex viewing
where symmetry, corrosion, reflection and image combine in a beguiling singular object.
Danny Treacy’s practice incorporates photography, sculpture, performance, collecting, archaeology and anthropology. Embracing
the fieldwork ethic, Treacy explores bifunctional sites in order to locate, collect, manipulate and document found objects. This
might include discarded clothing; objects from the River Thames; or used condoms at cruising sites. Treacy considers these
objects as the ‘fallout’ of human activity and questions the impermanence of value and function. By collecting, adapting and
documenting, he renews the discarded and gives new value to the otherwise worthless, ultimately asserting their status as
contemporary artefacts. The transitional flux to which these objects are subjected to, alongside the locale in which they are
discovered, discloses behavioural characteristics of society at any given time. Therefore, Treacy’s practice could be considered as
an exploration into community; identity; the politics of space; memory; and the ulterior.