parallel [in]Between

Posted on May 8, 2021

Platform Arts presents Parallel [in]Between by Kate Murphy and Ellen Duffy.

– a collaborative show of site-responsive sculptural installations.

Photography By Simon Mills

Platform presents a collaborative show of site-responsive sculptural installations by Ellen Duffy and Kate Murphy. Parallel [in]Between is an exhibition born out of the pair’s collaborative project of the same title that has been ongoing since early 2020. This iteration of the collaboration follows a series of events and collaborative happenings that lead to the body of work presented in Platform Arts Gallery. Utilising the tools garnered from working on their collaborative commission, they build on the vernacular established while working together extensively over the last year. This show will exercise their personally developed visual language and engagement with the gallery as a new site. There is a learned balance that has developed over the course of Parallel [in]Between’s journey, and it is one that is at constant play.

This long term project played out in a series of formats, beginning with the exchange of a series of collages, writings, images and small sculptural objects. Both artists’ worked on top of the materials and sketches that they received in the post, interjecting themselves into the others’ work. A dialogue began that freed up expectation and any preciousness one might have towards their own work. It enabled them to engage haptically with work other than their own and build upon the frameworks set by their individual practice, allowing scope to take on new ways of thinking about collaborative art making.

In late 2020 they reconnected for four days of making and conducting material research in the BKB Studios, Dublin. Working collaboratively to create a number of assemblages through material exploration and responding to the characteristics of the space. They utilised processes of cast-making and assembling to build site-responsive works while taking time to reflect and reconfigure over the four days. This time provided them with as many questions as answers. They had completed works, works yet to be figured out and small scale material explorations with a future. All of which held equal importance. This project was not intended for answers or even an ending for that matter. Questions beget more questions and this, in fact, works for their collaborative practice and as artists. As it was and is that in-between space that gives them the freedom to move around. Much like the earlier stages in their project they sought not to allow the work to become complete in a way that was ‘too finished’.

The pair share core values that impact how they make work. The importance of materiality, the dependence on the work’s response to a site and a process led practice. These key factors manifest in sculptural installations for both of them. However, it is at that point they start to diverge. Ellen’s assembling process involves free-form decision-making that utilises found/discarded and industrial materials, incorporating them into fabricated structures that create interdependent assemblages. Kate implements a more rigorous set of rules, taken from industrial processes – such as cast making, woodwork and welding – to exercise the points between object and space. Kate considers looking, reflecting and spending time within the boundaries of a site an important aspect of how she fabricates her sculptural interventions in space.
Throughout the year the pair both worked through their copies of Contemporary Japanese Sculpture by Janet Koplos. Her chapter ‘Sculpture as Relationship’ resonated with both artists’ practices in a significant way. When discussing the work of Mono Ha artis Lee U-Fan, she writes “… the materials do not merge into a unity but retain their separate identities and play off each other in weight, form, colour, etc.”. The relational network of things are built in response to one another – in balance with one another and the space of the gallery. Kate and Ellen fabricated and assembled this installation based on structural and spatial characteristics of the install site.

Alongside exhibiting together in Platform Arts in May 2021, Ellen will also be showing in Second Summer, in The Dock Arts opening in May and later in the year in the Draiocht in group show ‘Platform’. Kate has been curating and facilitating a site-orientated project titled Non-Events, including Ellen and four other artists; Aine Farrelly, Emma Griffin, Rachael Melvin and Lucy Tevlin. Kate’s exhibition design and the artists’ responses to the project will be shown in the newly established, artist-run Arcade Studios, Belfast this August. Kate’s solo-show in Ballina Arts Centre, Mayo will open in mid 2022.