A Common Treasury 2012
AMBACH & RICE is pleased to present A Common Treasury, an exhibition of new works by British artist Abigail Reynolds.
The exhibit’s title is derived from The True Levellers Standard Advanced, a seventeenth century manifesto penned by a faction of English Protestant agrarian collectivists, early proponents of social and environmental activism.
Reynolds alchemically transforms printed matter through a series of subtle gestures that combine glass,books and industrial materials to examine Great Britain’s ideological relationship to landscape. All imagery is sourced from second hand books that are by nature populist and democratized. Print and its varying qualities are emphasized and contrasted within her selections. The layout and design within the publications is utilized as a preexisting framework, a visual context that guides viewers’ relationship to the subject matter. Glass, steel and wood augment and filter these mass-printed photographs with poetic restraint.
Associations to the natural world are portrayed through the guise of social movements that encompass modernism, youth counterculture and civil disobedience. These ideologies and subcultures convey a desire to both transgress and harmonize with the landscape through explicit and nebulous aims. Reynolds mines the varying degrees of success and failure these social agendas have achieved while identifying their class spanning commonalities.
A Common Treasury implicitly links photography to the past, a perpetual trap fixed in memory, a negation of the present tense. Reynolds exposes the link between nostalgia and idealism and the manner in which each initiates and informs the other; identifying how imperfect recollection spawns unwavering dogma. These relationships are expressed through interventions that in the artist’s words enable “images to retain all of their levels of meaning, to stand unchanged but challenged, whether released from the context of the book in which they were found, or left inside that structure.” Throughout the exhibit landscape, architecture and utopian communities are enmeshed to evoke an unfulfilled longing, a tacit bond that transcends time and history.