The Well


The centre is the well..    The centre is the threshold   The centre is mourning

Edmund Jabes, Book of Questions.


16 January to 22 February 2004



Jo Wood  Pa-pa-pa (A view to a spire)  1997


Polly Gould  Claudia Kappenberg  Uriel Orlow  Mark Osterfield  Judy Price  Kay Walsh  Jo Wood

The Well centres around the work of Jo Wood who died in 1998. Co-curated and with new works by Mark Osterfield, Judy Price and Kay Walsh, the exhibition is inspired by their personal and professional relationship with Jo Wood. Complementary works include performances by Claudia Kappenberg and Polly Gould and textual insertions by Uriel Orlow as a tribute to Jo Wood.

Relationship and loss are at the heart of this exhibition. Loss creates an absence, a void, a well to be filled; it has the capacity to transform the people who are left behind. Indeed, loss can become a generator of new relationships and connections between people as well as a generator of attempts to make sense of the absence that is felt, to experience the well as full rather than empty.

The spareness, precision and yet curiously enigmatic nature of Jo Woods work demonstrates a sensibility which is key to the mood of this exhibition. Installations of text works and film by Jo Wood, some shown for the first time, explore the material constructs of space through a fascination with the cosmic on the one hand and the minutiae of everyday experience on the other. The humour, intelligence and compassion of Jo Woods work draw the audience into a reflective space wherein a subtle manipulation of light, sound and a textual play with language, invite us to experience the world and our place in it differently. Works shown are The Word, The Boat, Digging, Flight  and 100 Bright Stars.

The new works by the other artists continue to explore ambiguities of language, image and form, proximity and distance.  In-site, a video work by Kay Walsh, tracks an unfamiliar landscape in search of evidence. Shot in the dark, lit by torchlight, the camera momentarily rests on details of images only then to resume its endless search of the outlying terrain. Concerned with relationship, Mark Osterfields sculptural pieces are dumb witnesses to unarticulated emotional landscapes. The source images of boats and the Hastings Net-shops are transformed into ciphers suggestive of narratives, but real only in their relationship to each other and the space they inhabit. In Judy Prices video piece Tone, a finger traces the rim of a glass - a circle of light. The empty vessel has become ephemeral; its potential weightlessness speaking of the reducibility of the object to nothing, its continuing resonance creating the potential for thought. The textual insertions of Uriel Orlow and the performances by Claudia Kappenberg and Polly Gould further widen the web of relationships and the interplay of text, image, sound and movement extending across and beyond the gallery space.

The exhibition marks the launch of the bookwork NGC 4038-39, a selection of Jo Woods writings.

Books, fictions, texts; possibilities for opening, for losing, for finding. To be dislodged, to be submerged, the promise of the text, the promise of the word

Jo wood 1996


Installation View


Polly Gould                The Dead and the Blind

Claudia Kappenberg    Composition of the Arbitrary

Saturday: 31 January and 21 February5pm repeated at 6pm

(booking advisable as space is limited)


Gallery Talk:

Anne Tallentire & John Seth

Sunday 15 February, 3pm