Vegan suede cord, Pleather, Wooden dowels, 3D Printed fittings, Velcro, Rug canvas. 160 x 160 x 160cm, 2020
Cowlick appropriates the phrase from the Hairy Ball Theorem ‘if a sphere were covered in hair you wouldn’t be able to brush it without getting a cowlick’. Towle brings this saying into realisation and injects it with humour. She produced a cow-size geodesic-sphere covered in vegan suede cord to resemble a Highland cow. The sculpture is offered as a challenge for spectators to attempt. Cowlick’s football structure is made up of 90 wooden dowels, 60 3D Printed fittings and 20 hexagon and 12 pentagon pleather panels that have been rugged with vegan suede cord using a latch hook tool.
Within her practice Laura Towle uses Topological models, drawings and concepts as a foundation for her practice. Towle is also concerned with environmental issues. Her most recent work Cowlick utilises the connection to the cow to highlight the impact agriculture has on our planet.
Towle extends these environmental concerns to maintaining a sustainable practice. Each sculpture is designed to be flatpack, to reduce the amount of transportation needed. While also considering how materials are sourced and produced.
Her production of traditional geometric forms is achieved through various processes such as laser cutting and 3D printing. This extraction of mind-dependent topological concepts into large recognisable forms is first realised through a meditative drawing process. This systematic approach is also present within her making. Cowlick was produced by a traditional latch hooking method, taking lengths of cord and knotting them to a rug canvas.
The unprecedented has enabled a rise in personal and cryptic text, expressing the frustrations of re-shifting work practices and feelings. Consequently, the film and audio derive from the struggles Akhtar experienced during the SARS-CoV-2 lockdown.
The palimpsestic notions of application, erasure and regeneration integrate her making and its reconsideration, in relation to mark resist (50 x 70 cm), 80gsm copier paper with sumi ink, (21 x 29.7 cm) and etching (39 x 55 cm). The layering of words, physical actions, mediums and ideas accompanied by spontaneous encounters outlines the importance of memories and their inability to dissipate.
Before the national lockdown, the print room and its processes became a place of contentment. This recollection of the past simultaneously coincides, joyful and melancholic expressions between her inner soul and the activities undertaken.
Akhtar’s printing logs fused with the physicality of G.06 leads to an obscuring of time, journey and movement, heard via the nuances in erased characters and words in transit, reiterating the role of impermanence, caught between feelings and actions.
Taiba Akhtar’s practice explores the organic nature of handmade marks inspired through religious and cultural entities, communicating a sense of language and mark making, adjoined to materials and processes. Notions of home, belief, permanence and impermanence integrate the visual and verbal, unfolding different motifs and hidden meanings.
Akhtar’s use of language becomes blurred and obscured with an emphasis on displacement and fluxity, juxtaposed within her interplay of symbols and scripts. Layering intensifies Akhtar’s journey of self, derived from the constant recitation of Quranic verses, of allusion to meditation and intuition. Similarly, forms of visibility and unintelligibility correlate to time and the passing of time, entangling thoughts, feelings and actions.
Akhtar’s narratives vary across the seen and heard reassembling what was there, what is there and what might be, centralising a palimpsest. Consequently, her manipulative gestures reinforce an array of emotions and expressions; rhizomatic with her experiences thus, an enhanced ritual understanding. Her abstraction of language becomes performative, through the guise of writing, reciting and rewriting.
he let his breath out in a long exhalation of relief
Video (7mins 9 secs) 2020
My work as an installation artist, has always involved looking at evidence and traces of life. After the death of my father I started looking into legacies and what people leave behind. The memories associated with their personal objects. Due to Covid19 restrictions I began to create an immersive sculptural installation of my work, Exhalation Stories, as a narrative video in a virtual space. The focus is the breath, the breath of life, as metaphor for life. This is a memorial to my father, a remembering of Dad, his activities, objects and places. His passion for running, work on restoration of the Lichfield and Hatherton Canal and his final resting place, are all captured in the continuous films projected on the back wall. I used inflatable airbeds, as anthropomorphic form, which also evokes memories of family camping holidays.
Although work comes from a personal archive and memorial it also intercepts with Covid19 and the difficulties of breathing. The body being alive but locked down, the nature of George Floyd’s murder, the inability to breath, air pollution, the Right to Breathe and the very act of breathing are political issues. The airbeds filled with air now standing lonely and abject, as figures in the space, are waiting, in lockdown, life is on hold in ‘stay at home, save lives’. Breath surrounds the viewer in an immersive sculptural environment, a synergetic space with the sound of the breath, spoken words and video projections. These gently engage the senses in a tyrannical secret, the unspoken, the Abject, death.