The Kettle's Yard Artist Fellowship is one of the longest standing and most sought-after artist residencies in Britain, offering artists a sabbatical year to pursue their own work in Cambridge. This autumn the incoming artist fellow Marion Coutts will be exhibiting alongside outgoing fellow Claude Heath.
Marion Coutts makes spell-binding transformations of the ordinary. At Kettle's Yard she is showing a new series of sculptures - charged, laconic pieces, evoking cosmic and economic themes. Each work is austere in its presence but provisional in its construction. These are ritual objects arising out of the everyday. Tenner could be described as magic minimalism. A thousand pennies are stacked in a single solid column, making a 1.65 metre rod, the height of a person. In Money - another coin piece – a mass of pennies appear to be breeding like amoebas.
Coutts’ work achieves its power and its density of meaning through minimal but highly inventive mutations. It mythologizes the mundane. She takes prosaic materials and enormously extends their symbolic reach. In Target Nebula a perforated archery target is transformed to resemble an exploded star-mass, each arrowhead puncture making a point of light that pierces a field of darkness. Sibyl is a domestic satellite dish, raised high on a pole, draped in a veil of black gauze, appearing to levitate. The medium of mass-communication becomes a grave, shrouded enigma. Also showing is Coutts’ short film, epic, in which a life-size model of a horse is carried ceremonially by four human bearers through the streets and gardens of Rome.
Marion Coutts will be resident at St John’s College. In 2000-01 she was artist-in-residence at Tate Liverpool. Recent solo shows include Cult at the Chisenhale Gallery, London (2002) and Everglade (2003) at firstsite, Colchester. The Kettle’s Yard show will mark the launch of a new monograph on the artist’s work, co-published by Film and Video Umbrella and firstsite.
Claude Heath, who has been resident for the past year at Christ’s College, will be showing examples of his continuing enquiries into the bridge between perception and depiction. While in Cambridge Heath has developed his practice with the assistance of a number of University Departments including the Committee for Aerial Photography, Cambridge University Moving Image Studio and the Institute of Astronomy.
Heath will exhibit a large-scale wall drawing derived from studies of stereoscopic aerial photographs of Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, alongside drawings of the constellations of the near and the bright stars, likewise made from stereoscopic sources. He will also present editioned screenprint work produced with Kip Gresham at The Print Studio, Cambridge.