29 July – 10 September 2005
Abbott & Ellwood, bi-me, Chatwin:Martin, Malcolm Martin & Gaynor Dowling.
Two heads are better than one
Sigmund Freud famously remarked, “All that matters is love and work,” thereby encapsulating the lives of the makers participating in Partners.
They typify what trend forecasters call the 21st century lifestyle of couples living and working together. This might seem in direct contrast to the need of the maker to be seen as having an authentic independent voice, yet for the craftspeople in this exhibition, working as partners is the strength that reinforces their authorial integrity.
Making is a conversation that the maker has with him or herself and subsequently with the materials he or she chooses to work with and with the emerging artefact. The objects that are produced then speak to the viewer or user. For partners this internal conversational with self is quickly superseded by the dialogue with each other, what Peter Chatwin of Chatwin:Martin calls “One continuous dialogue.” This lengthy verbal stage is perhaps the most important part of making as a duo.
All the partners speak of the intellectual excitement that this interchange fosters and the distillation or intensification of their ideas that it brings.
All of them conclude that their partnership has lead to a change, (often quite radical) in their work. Their partnerships have made them more adventurous, more experimental than they would have been as individual makers. They have sought and met more challenges than they would have on their own.
The spirit of cooperation that they have had to develop (not always easily) has helped them to respond to larger scale cooperative, developmental projects. All laud the equality of their relationships, whilst admitting each other’s strengths and weaknesses, which they consciously exploit to improve their work. All struggle unsuccessfully to think of a downside. Any tension, it seems, is a creative one.
Corinne Julius © 2005
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