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Phyllida Barlow & Fiona MacDonald opened yesterday @ CoExist Galleries TAP

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Two artists are showing their work together for the first time at CoExist Galleries.

What connects Phyllida Barlow & Fiona MacDonald is a painterly approach to sculpture.

Phyllida Barlow has responded to the gallery space with several site-specific installations. Firstly, a blue wall splits one of the rooms in two. It prevents access to the other side but this act of restriction access is contradicted by the height of the barrier – it’s short enough to peek over and there are also few deliberate holes.

‘I wanted to use the lenght of the space and brake it up with an intervention – that’s how the wall emerged. Fiona’s work is more interior, mine is more of an outside object brought inside’, says Phyllida. She used the space ‘as a material’.

If the ‘wall’ was horizontal, her other installation is decidedly vertical: two long black poles hold a large sheet against the ceiling of  the Winch room. In response to the room retaining much of its industrial features, the poles appear to be integrated into the space which also contains an easily overlooked, almost hidden piece above the door. In the small gallery, two black round objects made from strips of different fabric are suspended from the ceiling, they are light and fluffy but fill the room with an uncanny presence.

Fiona MacDonald‘s works are interpretations of famous paintings but they are not faithful copies! She doesn’t work from reproduction images, but  relies instead on her memory and sketches.  ‘The point is not to copy the painting but allow it to translate itself though the process of thinking,’ she says.

Her gravity-defying compositions are made from clay and covered with colouring and silicone which gives them a fragile, porcelain-like quality.

Phyllida Barlow & Fiona MacDonald and the curator Jon Kipps talked to IDEA13 about the exhibition:

OPEN Until 5 November – Wed-Sat 10-4, Sun 12-5pm