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Left recalls Surrealism, the work of the American collector and artist, Joseph Cornell, and tales of gothic horror. What has happened here? The assemblages of Lorraine Clarke often inspire the beginnings of a story. Is this a hand that has been severed in murder, or is it a hand that has been cast in mourning? The hand is a recurring motif in the history of art and appeared often in the work of the Surrealists. Dora Maar made a collage in 1934 in which a single left hand emerges from a shell, and there are various collages and sketches of single hands in Andre Breton’s 1928 graphic novel, Nadja. Breton’s ill-fated lover loses one glove comparable to that of Clarke’s incased at the top of the box; seeing these gloves, once paired and connected but now separated and split, induces feelings of melancholy, similar to those evoked by the shadowy back and white photography of American artist, Francesca Woodman.


Woodman was also fascinated by the reveal and conceal of gloves in imagery, and, like Clarke, had an interest in the depiction of an angelic/crucifix stance. Woodman took a whole series of photographs called On Being An Angel whereby she suspended her body between a door-frame and also made large suspended wings, whilst Clarke clearly echoes the heavenly pose in Spectre of Abandonment, using the underside of earth trodden boots. Clarke’s sculpture is literally comprised of soles. The soles/souls are cut from leather, battered and tattered, but they are nonetheless, still souls. Are they souls that have experienced an atrocity, or are they simply tired souls, worn through and ready to stop walking? Thoughtfully attached to the mesh frame in the configuration of wings ready to take flight, Clarke demonstrates an alchemist’s desire to overcome dualities, to unite the divine and human, the spiritual and the bodily, while at the same time, revealing an artist’s limitations to merge these disparate elements…


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Spectre of Abandonment, 2014

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