A Common Treasury // Huffington Post 2012
Abigail Reynolds works in - and with - rural England. Her handsome assemblages, pairing glass, industrial materials, books and pages from books, and photographs take on an architectural rectitude in their carefully organized rhythms. Those rhythms and their rigorous disposition make them "read" like the books they contain, and we can clearly "read" (as well as actually read) that they address issues having to do with the land. Reynolds' is not a primarily ecological preoccupation, however, but an aestheticized investigation into how the land in the UK has been socialized, and how agriculture as well as environment has recently maintained in Britain. Given the particular cultural and economic associations between British soul and soil, historic and fraught, the exhibition threatened to devolve into a piecemeal history of modern England, an image of miners here behind a tinted surface, an old news photo of agrarian hippies there stuck to a screen, a hundred-year-old tome on gardening propping up a panel. But that very discontinuity helped the work maintain its status and effect as art, while revealing another level of Reynolds' topical concern: the mediated way we receive information about our surroundings.
- Peter Frank