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Tim Noble and Sue Webster | ColorMute

Tim Noble and Sue Webster

English duo, Tim Noble and Sue Webster, craft found objects and garbage into unassuming heaps on a gallery floor.  At first glance the piece is a comment on recycling; sea gulls pecking at a heap of filth.  But dim the overheads and shine a spotlight angled just right, and voila! Magic.

Shadow art is a wildly entertaining median, the focus is taken away from the piece itself and transferred to the absence of light on the wall behind it.  It’s provocative, it’s difficult, it requires hours of crafting to get just right. The work becomes a three fold observation; the physical piece which depending on the objects used can have a high impact, the light source which not only highlights the work but allows us to see beyond it at what is hidden within it, the shadow.  The final achieved work, as abstract as the work may be the shadow is perfectly formed, we double take trying to see the lines of the shadow in the work and if the craftsmen is clever enough, that’s a very hard thing to do.

For the most part their work is done in self portraiture.  Beyond the heaps of rubbish the two artists are seen pondering life, reveling in their threadbare existence, or taking the piss quite literally.  I find their work all very tongue in cheek, we define ourselves by our possessions while Noble and Webster are exemplifying that very point, here a pile of used objects are projecting them.  Like finger prints lifted from a discarded pop can, a part of us still lives in everything we’ve touched and by pressing a light onto it we can recapture the moment we and that object last touched.

A message to the vapidness of our consumer lifestyle?  When we’re gone all that will remain to tell the tale of us are our mountains of trash (like Wall-E).  If so, then it seems the perfect material to show us in our true light, or shadow.

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