Text by Rowan Sexton
The God of Small Things (Part 1) Curated by Rowan Sexton
Charles Brady, Maud Cotter, Michael Craig-Martin, Vanessa Donoso López, Blaise Drummond, Nathalie Du Pasquier, Gillian Fitzpatrick, Aoife Flynn, Cassie Howard, Alissa Kleist, Francesco Simeti.
The human world is not defined simply by the historical, by culture, by totality or society as a whole, or by ideological and political superstructures. It is defined by this intermediate and mediating level: everyday life.
– Henri Lefebvre, The Critique of Everyday Life, 1961.
Cassie Howard is interested in examining our perception of the material world, and invites the viewer to reflect on the meaning we attach to everyday objects, and how we survey our immediate environment. Her ‘In Conversation’ series of work focuses on objects that reflect human life and experience, within the genre of domestic interiors. This series depicts chairs from different design periods that have been placed together within the composition, and appear to float against the neutral background of either black or white space. Aligned slightly out of perspective from each other, the chairs take on different points of view and personalities. An anthropomorphic exchange takes place, as an awareness of the idiosyncratic features and characteristics of each individual piece of furniture is encountered by the viewer, and life beyond the inanimate objects becomes apparent. The works fill the air with a certain tension and reflect on the absence of people. The paintings on black paper, including, In Conversation V (Series II), 2006, come from an interest in the use of chairs on a theatre stage, where intense lighting heightens the suspense of the absent characters. Howard’s more recent work has moved towards the exterior, which could be seen as a parallel study to this series. Dual strands are observed in this new body of work – again, external structures and objects appear, devoid of human presence. However in a new development, we also see the inverse; crowds of people gathered, seemingly observing something, yet there is no object present in the scene to reflect this.