Containment – Chthonic Parts 2 & 3
11 December 2020 – 22 January 2021
Katherine Sankey’s artworks investigate mutation, adaptation, colonisation and power. They explore structure, supply, and degradation; asking questions about nature, the natural, the body, and function. It is both a deeply serious and lightly playful project. Abstract, cerebral, visceral and immediate, it expresses both stagnation and catharsis.
Sankey uses natural and human-made media–whittled tree-trunks, polished and re-used plumbing pipes, discarded medical and electrical components, porcelain. Her sculpture is sprawling and minutely-detailed. She works with waste materials and detritus to produce unique creations, technically finessed termite mounds of piping, wood and minerals; supply systems that begin underground and replicate in unforeseen patterns, parasitically invading the host space.
‘Sankey’s work calls for a reconsideration of the order of things, and of what we think we know about the forms of life that surround us.’(1) Experimenting in the circuitry of the organism, ‘part of the intrigue of her practice is the ambiguity of [the]starting and finishing points, but all the while maintaining the idea of a purposeful ‘route’ and ‘movement’. (2)
Containment at Rua Red seeks to challenge assumptions about both the boundaries of the human and what constitutes the ‘natural’ object. It holds a grimy, distorted mirror to ‘the real’. In its uncanny representations of embodied experience, it is about dis-ease, disturbance, anxiety, illness, and repair.
Thanking: Sadhbh Marshall-Coghlan, Eleni O’Sullivan and Gabriel Sankey for their help on the video.
(1) Julie Morrissy, FILE NOTE V, Fire Station Artists’ Studios, to be published January 2021.
Image: Katherine Sankey, Chthonic Part 1, rotated detail with holes, 2020, currently invited artwork in 190th RHA Annual Exhibition.