Forget-Me-Knot - New Work by Raksha Patel

An exhibition at Pitzhanger Manor's Studio’ Gallery

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Forget-Me-Knot is an exhibition of drawing, painting, and Super 8 film explores the place between the human body and the natural landscape.

The collection of new works follows an Artist’s Residency that Raksha Patel undertook in Walpole Park, West London, during the of Summer 2012. The residency allowed the time for Patel to reflect upon the English garden design and the traditions of Regency portraiture, which was inspired by the history of Pitzhanger Manor and its grounds, once the country home Sir John Soane.

Much of the exhibited works have emerged from investigating the fallen natural matter, which Patel collected during her time in Walpole Park. Tree bark, fungi, decayed leaves, seeds and pine cones are transcribed into Patel’s finely detailed pencil drawings of portraits that attempt to immortalise the illusion of beauty while illustrating the passage of time, and inevitable waning of life.

The film work explores the solemn demise of the historic Cedar trees. These trees frame the view of Walpole Park from the Manor and, planted in the late 1700’s, are now in a state of decay. They indicate the end of an era, while the regeneration of the park and Manor begins. Patel investigates the life of the trees through her film work. Expired Super 8 film was used and processed by hand to exemplify the passage of time in Cedrus Libero.

A hand-painted wallpaper covers one wall of the gallery. Worm Wood hangs over a 11ft x 9ft span and investigates the lost craft of hand-made wall coverings made during the Regency and Victorian periods. The wallpaper brings us to a place that is found between the interior of the gallery space and the ground’s exterior tree-life. The materials used in these works explore ideas of disintegration further. For example, the mildewed paper and the expired film both continue towards ruin when exposed to the elements of sunlight and oxygen; the very components essential for life itself.

Raksha Patel, b.1972 studied MFA painting at the Slade School of Art (1998), Illustration
at Central Saint Martins (1996), and Norwich School of Art (1994). This is her first solo
exhibition in London. She has previously exhibited at the Jerwood Drawing Prize (2011),
1Shantiroad, Bangalore (2013), inIVA (2008), Whitechapel Gallery (2005), and the
Site Gallery (2004).

August 15, 2013

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