Matthew Harris

08 May 2015 - 26 Jun 2015

'The task of describing what I do in the studio everyday is a difficult one. The process by which I create and construct images through an alternating rhythm of paper and cloth, paint and dye, has become a ritual of making and unmaking, built up and laid downover many years. Working the material is at the heart of this ritual. Not just the physical material of paper, cloth, thread etc but the material stuff of an image. the resulting fragments and scraps of image, whether in paper or cloth are complete in themselves but also incomplete, as if torn from a much larger whole. they are images temporarily bound, always with the potential for change, held at a still point, neither perfect nor finished.

The work at Eleven Spitalfields Gallery takes as it's starting point, The Leake Survey, an ancient book of maps that records the carving and cutting up of land. A book of fields, each page trapping ancient enclosures within a frame of red borders. Fields stretched out like folded and cut cloth, complex pattern pieces criss-crossed with pathways of ochre. Dotted lines and bands of yellow break and bisect each field into delineated strips and folds. These fields are fragments, floating free of any surrounding landscape. Ancient outlines trapped and pressed for all time in the pages of a book with names that point to an ancient history of use and ownership.

'Field Notes' began life as a collaboration betwenn myself and the composer Howard Skempton, commissioned by Craftspace, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and Arts Alive for a regional concert tour through Shropshire and Herefordshire in the spring and autumn 2014. Whilst the aim of the project was to generate work that would bring together audiences for contemporary music and visual arts, the means by which this came about was always left very open. The resulting dialogue between Howard and myself became one that was ultimately about a shared approach to process, language and material. About the way in which we both work with material, move it around, play with it until it begins to surprise us by revealing something of itself. In many respects we never sought to try and make something together, preferring instead to trust that through our conversation, we might discover a shared language that cut across both our disciplines and lead to the making of work that would leave an audience free to observe similarities and draw their own conclusions and responses.'

Matthew Harris, 2015


Field Notes will be performed as part of the Spitalfield Music Summer Festival on Saturday 13th June 2015, info and tickets

More information on matthews work can be found over on his official website