The Everyday Has a Certain Strangeness
Seven artists from differing backgrounds came together this summer to find common ground in the everyday. An independent exhibition, The Everyday Has a Certain Strangeness, took place inside St. Peter’s Church, Cambridge.
Alessandra Taccia, who also curated and organised the group show, says of the concept, “There’s a rhythm in our lives, made of habits, structures and familiar elements: we call it the everyday. It takes one step back from our routine and normal patterns of behaviour in our daily life to perceive that the everyday has a certain strangeness.” She also has plans for a publication of the same title. Here the artists reflect on what the exhibition meant to them.
Words by Reeme Idris
Alessandra Taccia – “The everyday to me is a sort of familiar and alien mix up, made of a disruptive routine, which we all need in one form or another to function, it has its pace, rhythm, sounds, thoughts, colours and forms; it’s own struggle for balance, the search for the soul, of meaning in a meaningless society which force those who sense the strangeness of it to stop, to think, to revolt, to reach the conclusion that the everyday has a certain strangeness because of the alienation created artificially, the acceptance of unacceptable things. It’s a long way to go but eventually we are all following the same path.”
Olivia Fiddes – “While I designed and created these pieces I thought a lot about the small gaps in our everyday routine when we feel aware. Personally this is the “strangeness” I feel, I think. We are often caught up in the day to day activities of life and forget to see the bigger picture and our place in the world.
However, in certain moments of connection or stillness we have that awareness. I tried to capture that in the pieces. Creating or seeing something for the first time sometimes has that effect on us. We don’t know quite what we are looking at or experiencing, so we become open and engaged.”
Sarah Kaye-Rodden – “My artwork always has its basis in drawing – an everyday practice which for me, is a quiet contemplative process.
You have to almost commune with your inner soul to look really hard at a very small detail of an object and see the absolute beauty to be found in, for example, a certain curve of an object. My artworks are the result of an intimate and reverential relationship that I have with certain objects, which for me, elevate the everyday into a beautiful search for the sublime.”
Faye Milburn – “Certain things in our everyday assume an ordinariness, and in this way can become invisible. A tweak is often necessary if we are to notice or appreciate these things’ material qualities. I have one checked tea towel that – through wringing and laundering – has been altered, its square cells stretched oblong. Its material has moved; its lost width is length added, until it looks a little too long hanging on the oven door.
This deviation acts as a warped glass through which we see – perhaps for the first time – its original form. To me the title is typified by such a reencounter, in which a familiar object is made odd.”
Yasuyo Harvey – “My work is about the assembling of textures, it represents the awareness of lost common nature. My everyday space is surrounded by botanical parts that I have collected over many years. They range from antique pressed flowers to single branches from the woods.
People throughout history have brought nature into their home. From floristry to pressing flowers in paper to picking stones on the seashore. I respect this way and bring a collection of textures into 3D objects to echo this ordinary everyday habit. The process of my artwork is very simple and quite abstract in form. Applying latex on dry botanicals, as if it is a mummification process, preserving the moment of decay. This displays the beauty of abandoned nature and the boundary between life and death.”
Patrizia Sascor – “The first time I saw the intimate and serene beauty of St. Peter’s Church I was spellbound and my initial interest for this independent exhibition grew into total enchantment. The almost empty, secluded space felt like a moment of complete, magic standstill from my busy everyday life. The sensual, soft light filtered by the stained glass windows into the almost empty space, immediately made me want my works to be part of that but without imposing and preventing the eye from roaming freely around.
I have reinterpreted everyday, functional objects such as baskets into more abstract, sculptural elements, inspired by natural, organic forms, thus pursuing that magic feeling of suspension in time evoked by the little church. I’ve woven my baskets just enough to suggest and fix their organic shapes, searching for lightness and transparency. Instead of weaving compact “walls”, I aimed for an osmotic exchange between the internal spaces of the baskets and of the church. I wanted them to act as minimal structures enveloping space without separating.”
Jane Ponsford – “I am an artist and papermaker. The material I use, paper, is so familiar that it can seem valueless but the time and labour involved in making paper by hand restores the value that mass production takes away.
In the same way it’s easy to overlook simple beauty but sometimes chance lets us see everyday things freshly as if we had never seen them before – in making my work for the exhibition I was inspired to dye my paper yellow by a mass of buttercups outside St Peter’s Church which echoed the simple, cool yellowy green flowers in the stained glass within. The dye I used, Weld, is one of our oldest dye-plants and would have been well known by the original users of the church. To me the colour is calm but joyful and appropriate to the beautiful simplicity of the building.
Sometimes things are evocative because of their everyday nature.”
‘The Everyday Has a Certain Strangeness’ took place on 6th July 2019 – 14th July 2019 at St Peter’s Church, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire.