JESSIE BRENNAN: IF THIS WERE TO BE LOST
30 September - 29 October 2016
dalla Rosa is proud to present Jessie Brennan’s first solo exhibition at the gallery, which inaugurates our new London space at 3 Leighton Place, Kentish Town. If This Were To Be Lost consists of a series of cyanotypes and oral recordings gathered by Brennan during a yearlong residency (2015-16) hosted by arts organisation Metal and in collaboration with The Green Backyard, a community garden in Peterborough threatened with a proposed development.
During her time as artist in residence Brennan repurposed a garden shed into a community darkroom, and together with trustees, volunteers, and users of The Green Backyard, she has documented the site in the form of a visual and audio archive, over 100 cyanotypes and more than 100 voices (oral recordings), a selection of which are on show at dalla Rosa.
The wide range of objects and plant specimens documented in cyanotype generate lasting visual traces - beyond the threatened lifespan of the site - their indexical image captured on light sensitive paper exposed directly to the sun. A sink plug washer, an ashtray, a courgette, or a piece of cotton lavender: each object impresses onto the paper’s surface its shape, weight and transparency. The recorded voices signal a webbed connection of communities and a solidarity between people who experience the land as a shared resource.
Brennan has also created a new site-specific artwork situated at The Green Backyard. If This Were To Be Lost (2016–17) is a temporary, large scale, text installation. The phrase is adapted from an oral recording by a contributor to the audio archive, and its 19-metre length is visible to passengers travelling on the adjacent East Coast mainline train from London to Edinburgh.
To coincide with her solo exhibition, dalla Rosa will launch a series of four limited edition prints by Brennan based on the individual cyanotypes: Paper Bag, Cotton Lavender, Robin, and Ashtray. A new publication titled Re: development: Voices, Cyanotypes & Writings from The Green Backyard will be published in October.
About the Artist
Jessie Brennan studied at the Royal College of Art. Her work has been extensively shown in the UK and Europe and is held in public and private collections, including the Victoria & Albert Museum. In 2014 she was part of Progress at The Foundling Museum (London), which included her commissioned project A Fall of Ordinariness and Light. This year she received a research fellowship at The Bartlett (UCL), and exhibited at Peterborough City Gallery and Museum. She is the recipient of several awards including: Grants for the Arts, Arts Council England (2015); Second Prize, Jerwood Drawing Prize (2011); and Leverhulme Trust Bursary (2006).