Shifting scales come into play in Carl’s work for the new toy space, Mac’s Garage, commissioned by Small House Gallery, London [for the Small House North East co-curation project with Karen Melvin in Northumberland].
Unbird 2022 is the first work made by the artist since his large-scale commission Tremuseum, sited by the vast Randsfjorden in Sondre Land, Norway in 2016.
Within the derelict and abandoned nature of Mac’s Garage, the fuel station, once a symbol of western power and journeying towards personal freedom, becomes a symbol of a broken world. Against a backdrop of images emerging daily from The Ukraine, and the global climate emergency, the empty ‘Gas station’ becomes a miniature scene full of foreboding and threat.
Showing in the back of the garage’s sparse workshop and casting an eerie light and sound across the space, is Alfred Hitchcock’s classic full length feature film The Birds. The tense psychodrama haunts the space, playing on our sense of scale and overlapping narrative – as when the man at the gas station, half way through the film lights a cigarette, blowing up the whole area.
Here the small dystopian cinema is patrolled and guarded over by life-sized birds made by the artist. For a number of years, Carl has been making hand-made birds from fragments of recycled materials, sometimes with communities from around the world including groups of migrants who walked from Russia into north Scandinavia in 2014.
The Large & Small show in Slaley Village…
Large & Small
Karen Melvin, Claudia Sacher, and Carl von Weiler
in association with Small House North East
at Slaley Commemoration Hall, Slaley Village, Northumberland, NE47 0BQ
Friday 13th May 2022, 7-9pm & Saturday/Sunday 14th-15th May, 11am-5pm
This pop-up exhibition in Slaley will feature the very large and the very small, the outsize and the miniature. It includes an elevated shed, a vintage dolls’ house (Small House Cottage) and handmade toy car garage (Small House Garage) as part of the Small House North East co-curation experiment on ‘tour’ from London to Northumberland. Small House Gallery is a mini-contemporary art project for a group of dolls’ houses, curated by Eldi Dundee.
(See more at https://smallhousegallery.uk/2022/03/15/small-house-north-east )
These small houses are spaces for exhibiting art by living artists that play with scale in their practice. Ideally, ‘the home’ marks a place of safety, comfort, and shelter. A dolls’ house allows for a child to ‘play house’, and explore family dynamics: mummy, daddy, baby; going out to work, coming home, sharing food. For adults, the iconic protective spaces within the family ‘house and home’ become a much wider concern. It includes support for and connection to wider society, the environment, and a projection of one’s family line into the foreseeable and imagined future.
Offcuts: Homing In
In the micro-exhibition within Small House Cottage, Karen Melvin has brought the outdoor environment into the house, to look at cycles of growth, nature and those large and small issues that go with our concern for a sustainable future – all the activities from picking a flower for a vase to caring for the land and concern for climate change. Off-cut pieces of wood were picked up from the workshop floor to paint on and put in the small house next to cut-up bits of exhibition prints folded into tetrahedron shapes. This metaphoric house is surrounded by a metaphoric painted table-top garden with more offcuts. The relationships within the works intermingle with ideas of our place within nature and the places in nature we love.
(Melvin’s OFFCUTS show can also be viewed on the Small House Gallery website now: https://smallhousegallery.uk/2022/04/07/karen-melvin-offcuts-homing-in )
An installation of poetic paper structures by Claudia Sacher includes small drawings enclosed in a restricted space and larger drawings leaning in a corner, hanging from the rafters or floating above the floor. The small drawings are very spare and concise, offering up their view of the travails of a female human figure, artworks as thoughts inside her body visualised as lines. The large drawings use previous work so the paper takes on a weathered aged appearance due to its various incarnations, each incarnation bringing its own gravitas. It is “Ephemeral, never lasting, uncollectible as the remains from this exhibition turn into the next one. It travels through time and space, just like us.“
(Sacher also showed this work in Small House Cottage in March – to view it, go to https://smallhousegallery.uk/2022/03/15/claudia-sacher-yvettes-people )
Un Bird 2022
Carl von Weiler’s work, within the bowels of the derelict and abandoned toy Mac’s Garage (aka Small House Garage), once potent a symbol of western dominance, and beat-poet journeys towards personal freedom, this model fuel station has become a symbol of a broken world. Against a backdrop of images emerging daily from Ukraine, with our global climate emergency, an empty ‘gas station’ becomes a symbolic diorama fraught with foreboding and threat.
Showing in the back of the garage’s sparse workshop, and casting an eerie light and sound across the space, is Alfred Hitchcock’s classic full-length feature film The Birds. The tense psychodrama haunts the space (miniature and real-life-sized gallery), playing on our sense of scale, overlapping narrative – as when the man at the gas station, half way through the film lights a cigarette, blowing up the whole area.
Here the small dystopian cinema is patrolled and guarded over by life-sized birds made by the artist. For a number of years, von Weiler has been making hand-made birds from fragments of recycled materials, sometimes with communities from around the world, including groups of migrants who walked from Russia into north Scandinavia in 2014.
Un bird 2022 is the first work made by Carl von Weiler since his large-scale commission Tremuseum, sited by the vast Randsfjorden in Sondre Land, Norway in 2016.
Also for the special exhibition at Slaley (Large and Small), Carl has produced a portfolio of unique ink tree drawings that will be on sale. All of the proceeds will go jointly to the crisis in Ukraine fund; and a new ‘not for profit’ company called MetamorphicART CIC that Carl has launched, which seeks to help communities with mental health issues.
Karen Melvin and Claudia Sacher last exhibited together in the uninhabited rooms full of the atmosphere of prior lives, in the back wing of Highgreen Manor, Tarset. No.3: Stories in a house retold, part of Varc weekend/ Highgreen Arts in 2018. Karen and Claudia collaborated at Ladycross Nature Reserve in 2019 with Picnic at Stone Circle and currently have the exhibition Breath of My Garden on at Gibside National Trust, Gateshead.
Small House North East is a collaboration between Dundee, who is back in London curating other shows in the project’s two remaining ‘buildings’ over the course of the 3 month north-eastern sojourn, and Karen Melvin, temporary custodian of Small House Cottage and Small House Garage. This is the first time these ‘houses’ have been to Northumberland, and the first time they have left South London since being acquired by Dundee’s Small House Gallery project.
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