27/01/23 09:00–11/03/23 02:00

Ritual Touch

Multiple artists

Ritual Touch, 2023. Install Shot. Credit: Dom Moore.

MIRROR presents Ritual Touch, a group exhibition curated by talking on corners - Lorna Rose and Ella S. Mills.

‘The idea of the work, the accumulation of the materials, the putting them together, the sharing of a work are all part of a ritual. This process of objectification is…purification. Once in the world, the artwork can become part of someone else’s ritual.’

Betye Saar

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Install Shot. Ritual Touch, MIRROR, 2023. Credit: Dom Moore.
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Install Shot. Ritual Touch, MIRROR, 2023. Credit: Dom Moore.
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Install Shot. Ritual Touch, MIRROR, 2023. Credit: Dom Moore.

‘Ritual Touch’ brings together three artists for the first time, creating new conversations to which you are invited. Central to the exhibition is the materiality of touch and the significance of time and rhythm in the ritual of creating.

The artists’ repetitive and slow creative practices become ritual; an act of making that shifts from a doing to a being with, where touch transcends the material and exists also as energy.

Monica-Shanta, Gladys Paulus and Ingrid Pollard and share a quiet depth to their practice, calling on rhythmic traditions, rooting human presence and interaction in the natural world. A combination of mixed media installation and assemblage, the artists collapse historical and personal pasts, bringing to the fore a resonance of being imbued in the objects through touch. The embodied pasts of these objects release a power and a presence, where the ritual can become our own.

Monica-Shanta is a multi-disciplinary visual artist who weaves together digital image and film, interactive performance, drawing and installation, through a practice that is informed by both Western and Asian cultural traditions. Monica’s work is the impulse of an artist embodying a space of cultural instability, engaging with universal human experiences as portals to ontological and philosophical questions.

Monica has been based in the South-West for 10 years, sharing her practice as an artist and educator with an extensive range of people, arts organisations, schools, galleries and a multitude of community environments.

Dutch-Indonesian artist Gladys Paulus creates deeply emotive works that quietly reclaim a perceived loss of sacredness. Often stemming from personal explorations into her ancestry and identity, her oeuvre straddles the worlds of fine arts, traditional crafts and ritual, managing to find a space entirely of its own, pushing the boundaries of the medium of felt in doing so.

A fourth generation artist and maker, Paulus currently lives and works in Somerset. She is a specialist visiting tutor across the UK, Europe, USA and Canada. Her work is represented in the collection of the Tropenmuseum (Amsterdam), and private collections in the USA.

Ingrid Pollard is recognised as one of the most influential British artists, breaking new ground and forging pathways for younger generations, shaping Britain's understanding and histories of art, society and culture. Her mixed media work with photography pushes the boundaries of the genre, with a rigorous attention to materiality as well history.

Described by The Guardian as an artist 'at the peak of her creative powers', this exhibition is a rare chance to see Pollard's work in the South West. Pollard is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, and received her doctorate-by-publication from the University of Westminster in 2016. She was a recipient of the BALTIC Artist Award in 2018, and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Awards for Artists in 2020. Pollard's work is represented in the collections of Tate Britain, the V&A, Cartwright Hall, and Arts Council England. Pollard is one of four artists nominated for Turner Prize 2022.

Lorna and ella
Credit: Naomi Williams.

talking on corners is a diy, experimental visual art curating and producing practice underpinned by critical thinking and research. We commission visual artists and work with organisations to host exhibitions, residencies, talks and study days. We also offer writing, research, consulting and grant writing. We are committed to the arts and working towards long term institutional change. talking on corners is funded on a project by project basis.

Lorna Rose is a creative producer, artist and one half of talking on corners. Based in South West England, her work incorporates arts research and designing/developing projects that consider how to work holistically with gaps and space. Lorna uses her creative practice as a catalyst for conversations about the nuances of the Black experience, visibility and Black joy. Underpinned by listening and the intricacies of conversation, Lorna’s practice is concerned with the play of power, equity and space within communication. Recent projects include co-curating ‘Spaces to Speak', a project focused on interviewing and Black and Brown creativity in Plymouth and working as Audience Development Producer with Beyond Face theatre company.

Ella S. Mills is an art historian based at the University of Plymouth in contemporary and modern art history, and one half of talking on corners. Ella is interested in unfolding art’s histories, working towards creating safe spaces for artists and audiences, and developing new methodologies of listening by introducing the qualitative research method of grounded theory to artist interviewing. Recent projects and publications include devising the ‘Ingrid Pollard in Devon’ project involving commissioning new work and curating the exhibition ‘Three Drops of Blood’ at Thelma Hulbert Gallery (2022); and ‘Artist Conversation: Lubaina Himid and Ella S. Mills’, in, Robles, E. K.; Price, D. C. (Eds.) After the Black Arts Movement: Framing the Critical Decade (Bloomsbury, 2023).

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Artist Catalogues:

Ingrid Pollard's catalogue was available for the duration of the show from her recent Three Drops of Blood exhibition at Thelma Hulbert Gallery , Honiton. The artworks featured in Ritual Touch are a selection from a larger series of work from Three Drops of Blood, which was commissioned by Ella S. Mills and part of a wider project called Ingrid Pollard in Devon (Aug 6 - Oct 29, 2022).

The catalogue features five colour prints, including some of the artworks in Ritual Touch and two texts produced for the exhibition: an essay by curator Ella S. Mills, and a conversation between Ingrid Pollard and Professor of Geography and Cultural Heritage at the University of Sussex, Divya Tolia-Kelly. This catalogue explores in detail the works featured in Ritual Touch and provides insights into Pollard's wider Three Drops of Blood commission and exhibition.

Gladys Paulus's catalogue featuring the Hinterland series in its entirety was also be available. Paulus describes the series as 'the result of a ritual of mourning and healing carried out over one year in response to the death of my father'. The book is a stunning full colour 60 page catalogue produced on the occasion of the Hinterland exhibition at Greenhill Arts, Moretonhampstead (20 March - 18 April 2020). The catalogue includes an essay by Paulus eloquently describing the deeply emotional and careful technical journeys of the artworks.