This summer the Camden Arts Centre dedicates all of its galleries and gardens to a large-scale, major exhibition of work by Shelagh Wakely (b.1932 – d.2011). One of the UK’s most influential artists, the exhibition provides the rare opportunity to experience the ephemeral magic of Wakely’s work.
Celebrating her observation of nature and the emotional and sensual experiences it evokes, the exhibition is developed with Wakely’s friend and collaborator, the Brazilian artist, Tunga. Wakely worked across a variety of media including print, video, unfired ceramics and experimental drawings. Gallery One is devoted to these works, showcasing her attention to the thresholds between things, whilst Gallery Two focuses on one beautiful and delicate floor installation, created from the sweet-smelling golden spice, turmeric.
The works in Gallery Three change and shift with the light and atmospheric conditions throughout the day and the exhibition continues out to the garden, where Wakely’s work is brought into conversation with other artists. Artists that she shared creative concerns with during her lifetime include Susan Hiller, Alison Wilding and Richard Deacon. Alongside their work, one of Wakely’s outdoor pieces, Rainsquares (1994) is remade and installed.
An area in the garden is also dedicated to plants with medicinal properties such as angelica, caraway, chervil, parsley and anise. Modelled on and inspired by a commission that Wakely undertook for St George’s Hospital in Tooting and her own rich garden in North London, the gardens of Camden Arts Centre are brought to life with her visions and celebrate her love of nature.
Shelagh Wakely, 13 July – 28 September, Camden Arts Centre, Arkwright Road, London NW3 6DG. For more information visit www.camdenartscentre.org.
1. Shelagh Wakely, installation shot. Courtesy of Camden Arts Centre.
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