Frances Richardson: If I measure it must exist
Made and installed to be deliberately without function, these objects are what Richardson refers to as ‘phantom reals’, physical reflections that exist as echoes of an original.
Karsten Schubert London is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new work by Frances Richardson. Central to the exhibition are themes of balance and counterbalance, real and phantom, be it through intricate ink drawings of objects or in drawings in sculptural form. Every element sits together to create a walk-through still life of Richardson’s making.
Whether in her MDF ‘drawings’ of recognisable objects, as Richardson describes works such as Object for thinking about empty and Object for thinking about opening, or in her imagined ‘moths’ series, Richardson draws attention to the innate qualities of materials. Her use of MDF sits in tension with the objects it appears to represent. Made and installed to be deliberately without function, these objects are what Richardson refers to as ‘phantom reals’, physical reflections that exist as echoes of an original. Her ‘real phantoms’, meanwhile, are less recognisable. These Rorschach-like geometric objects made from book-matched wood veneer, a material that is an explicit visual record of time, cling tentatively to the walls. However, these ‘moths’ are far from the transient, ephemeral creatures their name might suggest.
The title piece of the show, If I measure it must exist, is made from a length of pine cut into three pieces and folded. Resting somewhat provisionally on the edge of a gallery table, it evokes a hinged ruler recently put down after use. Unpredictably, however, this ‘ruler’ has no numbers, with only its wild grain and the artist’s rhythmically gauged marks suggesting anything against which to measure.
Richardson’s approach is never linear. Noting that the gallery does not have ceiling lights, the artist was prompted to make a collection of lamps. Simple and elegant, these lamps are at once sculptural and functional. When directed close to the ‘moths’, the light they emit is like a beam from a photocopier scanning in slow motion, illuminating the exquisite, smooth surface of the veneer.
Frances RichardsonIn an attempt to deny their mortality III, 2021Chinese ink on paper76 x 56 cm | 29 7/8 x 22 1/8 in
Frances RichardsonIn an attempt to deny their mortality II, 2021Chinese ink on paper76 x 56 cm | 29 7/8 x 22 1/8 in
Frances RichardsonIn an attempt to deny their mortality I, 2021Chinese ink on paper76 x 56 cm | 29 7/8 x 22 1/8 in
Frances RichardsonClotho, 2021Pale moon ebony (Diospyros malabarica) veneer on birch plywood117 x 40 x 8 cm | 46 1/8 x 15 3/4 x 3 1/8 in (approx)
Frances RichardsonStill thinking: hanging on in there, 2021Copper65 x 34 x 3 cm | 25 5/8 x 13 3/8 x 1 1/8 in
Frances RichardsonStyx, 2021Black walnut (Juglans nigra) burr veneer on birch plywood, copper60 x 50 x 3 cm | 23 5/8 x 19 3/4 x 1 1/8 in (approx)
Frances RichardsonObject for thinking about opening, 2021MDF, screws, paint220 x 105 x 7.5 cm | 86 5/8 x 41 3/8 x 3 in
Frances RichardsonAtropos, 2021Redwood burr (Sequoia sempervirens), burr veneer on birch plywood, copper
63 x 100 x 2.5 cm | 24 3/4 x 39 3/8 x 1 in (approx)
Frances RichardsonStill thinking, 2020Copper and abalone
Diameter: 5 cm | 2 in
Perspex plate: 7.5 x 7.5 cm | 3 x 3 in