A slight sinking, the crunch of leaves, the echoes of birdsong- stepping into Contemporary Sculpture Fulmer there is an immediate sense of physical presence, and wonder. The soil is distinct, the air is clearer. A domestic wilderness permeates, accentuated through the purposeful planting of century-old trees, plants and the seasonal surprises a true garden brings. At the entrance is the Cabin Gallery, an intimate yet breathy space, home to ‘One Foot In The Sky’. Rooted in its context, the group exhibition considers grounding and connection to the earth. Bringing together artists from around the world, the exhibition takes its cue from the English countryside to the back streets of Mumbai, as well as various approaches to being and looking up: literally, or more metaphorically, through observations, seasons or meditative practice.
Contemplating the ranges of natural expanse, Adam Leef’s painting captures the simplicity of sun, sky, air, and water, a mediterranean rhythm drifting across his canvas. A musicality extends from each stroke, an abstraction melded with feeling that is also present in the work of Lewis Brander. Depicting skies, Brander creates peepholes of sentiment, observational glimpses or windows into nuggets of time. As quickly as they’re formed- a cloud, a colour- they pass. Capturing that sense of flow is the work of Clementine Bruno who articulates gestures. An airy transcendence whispers across the gesso on wood, playing with a sense of trace. Addressing lightness and movement is the adjacent work of Liam Stevens: monotonal, deliberate, meditative, Stevens carves a painterly pocket of tranquility. From airiness to earth, the sculptural work by Yeni Mao draws our attention back to structures, the ground, and its individual histories. Outlining neighbourhood grids in Mexico on the US border where Chinese immigrants lived subterraneously, the sculpture, made of copper, glows, energetically charged both referentially and scientifically.
On the opposite wall, a drawing by EJ Hill, part of his Joy Studies, depicts a roller coaster, an analogy for daily life from which clouds dot blue skies and a single carnation balances. Thinking of movement, the body, sentiment, is the work of Jane Bustin. Carefully assembled and delicately balanced, it is at once structural and physical, a dance of form and nuanced material. Addressing contact with the ground and presence, the collage by Johanna Tagada Hoffbeck, part of her Cocooning series, depicts several stacked forms, such as the rocks you might find on a path. Placed alongside the work of Amol Patil, there’s a consideration of what’s found, collected, kept. Resembling a ball of earth, Patil’s bronze work follows from his contemplation of the streets of Mumbai and depicts various anthropomorphic details, from eyes to lips. The duality between ‘below’ and ‘above’ is further referenced in the abstract work of Jessica Woo Jung Ghil. A painting in seemingly two interconnected parts, it sparks thought regarding our physical connection to the earth, and the mental space one might comparatively inhabit.
Thinking about interconnectivity, Benjamin Westoby’s work exists between an intricate pattern and a musical score. Seemingly outlining ripples that the eye might not see, it prompts thought through its wooden materiality and precision around puzzles and connection-making. Finding associations, especially in ever-shifting environments, is a consideration that’s shared by Alexandre Canonico. A composite of parts and materials, Canonico’s work explores tensions as well as gravitational pushes and pulls. Thinking of nature but also urban settings, its tones and shapes play with and off the sculptural work by Andrew Sabin, made using a unique tinted concrete technique. Resembling at once bark and an excavated geological formation, Sabin’s work has an organic precision and seemingly absolute fluidity of hand. Placed alongside the work of Amba Sayal-Bennett there is at once a sense of contrast and mechanical physicality. Ultimately though, Sayal-Bennett’s work points to a fundamental association between all the works in ‘One Foot In The Sky’: our rooting to the body, the layers that make up us, in all our complexity.