SHARON JAMES - THE ORNITHOMANIAC’S DEN
Welcome to this obsessive artist’s world of birds, words and books.
The current exhibition of Sharon James’s museum like pieces evoke memories of childhood and the exploration of a subject matter which is deep at the heart of how she views the world with curiosity and an attention to detail through observation and a real knowledge and love of her investigations.
The work ranges from drawings, prints, paintings and installations from the earlier colour etchings, with their emblematic imagery, to the way primary colour is used again in the painted bird skeletons, their dripping lines grounding them and stopping their flight away.
There is a real understanding of the subject matter through the installations, especially Bird Box with its loving attention to detail and replication of the beautifully crafted birds’ eggs to the prints, photographs alongside feathers and limbs, both moving and poignant with its timeless quality, engaging with Sharon’s sense of humour.
The drawings are challenging the viewer to look again at the subject as seen in C.AVES 1 where Sharon is playing with the negative spaces to explore composition and meaning. The use of embossing re-enforces this feeling for history and archaeology, at once old but now newly found, images of the negative and positive perfectly balanced and considered, as in nos 8,9,10 & 21, 22, 23, this bas relief sculptural quality evident in these pieces.
The Books & Contained Works of nos 43, 44, 45, 46 47 demonstrate the quirky and personal through text and image based ideas reflecting the maker’s personality, all pieces crafted, stitched and beautifully considered with their tactile, 3D awareness from conception to fruition. Even the titles of the works in the exhibition reflect a play on words, another aspect of her games playing!
The body of work is varied in its resolutions and realizations but the maker’s voice is consistent throughout. The intention is triggered by a curiosity and a love of drawing, its power to communicate and how it may be experienced. This is most powerfully encountered by looking at the sketchbooks, which are a visual and intellectual joy! The way that a drawn line maybe used and explored is found in these books, a time and a place for the viewer to learn and experience the breadth of understanding of how to examine a subject, delving into all aspects with a reverential curiosity and playfulness, bringing back to life the skeletal fragments to a soulful reality.
This exhibition embodies two years of Sharon’s creativity and reflects well on her professional engagement with her ideas and commitment to making interesting, well-crafted and stunning works of art.