Ingrid Pollard, photo: Emile Holba
MK Gallery has unveiled yet another striking and thought-provoking exhibition, the second in a series of three major retrospectives of women artists this year.
Ingrid Pollard, Self Evident (detail), 1992, 9 colour light boxes, each 50.8 x 50.8 cm and 8 silver gelatin prints, each 84.1 x 118.8 cm. © and courtesy of the artist
Carbon Slowly Turning looks back over four decades of Ingrid Pollard’s work, in which she examines the nature of race and identity as a black British woman. The work explores Pollard’s lived experience as well as historic narratives.
Ingrid Pollard, Parabiosis – solid generated by rotation, 2001, digital print on stretched synthetic canvas, 310 x 252 cm. © Ingrid Pollard. Government Art Collection, acquired 2020.
In terms of sheer scale, the vast canvases that constitute the Landscape Trauma series are some of the most striking works in the exhibition. Visually unlike Pollard’s other works, they could almost be those I’d call typically masculine Abstract Expressionist paintings. But they aren’t what they seem.
The hugely scaled-up macro photographs of rock formations disorient the viewer and make them question whether they too belong in this unfamiliar environment – it’s all very clever.
Ingrid Pollard, Pastoral Interlude, 1987, gelatin silver hand-tinted print, each 25.5 x 38.8cm. © Ingrid Pollard. Victoria and Albert Museum, London.jpg
Pollard also questions her own place within the British landscape. How can she exist within the English pastoral scenes of Beatrix Potter and William Wordsworth’s Lake District? And yet is our notion of ‘the countryside’ over-romanticised? Idyllic tales for some represent a divisive Imperialism for others and lead Pollard to ask how she and others are able occupy these spaces together. My visit left me mulling this over – a good sign of any art experience.
Carbon Slowly Turning is at MK Gallery, 900 Midsummer Blvd, Milton Keynes MK9 3QA until 29 May.
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