Gordon Faulds: Somerset Arts Weeks provided the catalyst for us to curate a substantial group show here at Crescent Contemporary.
Elizabeth Earley: Gordon and I had already committed, back in February, to showing our own work, so we decided to select other artists whose work we loved or who have influenced us.
GF: Gradually, by the time we reached a maximum 10 artists, there was a lot of common ground. The show really began to come together once we began to make studio visits.
EE: The first studio we visited was Sam Hall in St Ives. It was really inspiring, and really set the bar high for the rest of the selection process.
GF: The title "Chymistry" came from our discussion about multiple kiln firings with Sam, and the Whitbread Prize winning novel by Lindsay Clarke, "The Chymical Wedding" which became the binding dynamic.
EE: We were extremely pleased when Cedric Christie agreed to show his piece entitled Chemistry, which became the keystone.
GF: The last exhibit to arrive was a series of monochrome photographs. They appear at first as perhaps radio telescope images of a crab nebula shifting in time sequence, but on closer inspection become evident to be fresh vomit; they became crucial in terms of the challenging subject matter.
EE: We loved the combination of esoteric and urbane, the notion of base matter transformed into beauty.
GF: Yes. In our press release I quoted the 17th Century usage of "Chymistry" in reference to Isaac Newton's Great Work, as the very serious pursuit which dates back millennia, to achieve by initiation into secret knowledge the alchemical skills to derive gold from lead.
EE: It's a metaphor; the quest for the metaphysical.
GF: Waldemar Januszczak in Ugly Beauty (BBC 2009, his summary of tendencies in Contemporary Art) proposed the idea that in a world where most of us believe science has given us rational explanations for the origins of life on earth, the birth of the universe and most everything else that exists, the one area of human experience that Art maintains a hold-on, is 'mystery' - and that ‘mystery’ is essential to the wellbeing of humanity.
EE: The opportunity to shift out of left brain ‘logic', to raise questions, stimulate curiosity, a momentary pause, perhaps, to recheck our take on reality?
GF: We're pleased with the show. The work is beautiful and it spins the imagination off in many directions, yet sits in the gallery as a cohesive whole.