For the beginning of the 2024 gallery season, we are delighted to present the exhibition COMFORT by Daisy Smith (1995, UK), with special guest George Seamus McGoldrick (1995, UK). The show will draw together a series of works across the mediums of film and drawing.
Daisy Smith works from a personal archive in which family members, friends and former living situations are positioned within a backdrop of wider social contexts.
Evangeline Dobbs, played here by two Amsterdammers and my mum, traverses night shifts, workplace reviews, environmental change, national borders and physical discomfort in her quest to make an honest* living. Her son, training for a war that never arrives, takes advantage of the time afforded to him by her developed routines.
*For the past two years I have been working part-time as a cleaner in Amsterdam. As an artist my work is materially realised by the work I do outside of the studio. Comfort was my first film to be financially supported by a foundation in conjunction with the income I make from waged labour. In the past money for artworks have been derived from working in a school, a care home, on an ice cream van, as a tour guide and a waitress. In Amsterdam this has taken the form of cleaning houses, and when back in the UK maintaining the coal and wood fires for an old museum. A great deal of the footage in Comfort was shot in these areas of work.
Comfort was produced with support from the Dommering Foundation. This work was also supported by the Grachten Museum, Museum Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder and Dennis Severs House, who provided filming locations.
I started developing these drawings when I was working night shifts in a care home during the pandemic. There is a question around the bodily vulnerability of shift work that resonates with the apparent ‘labour registers’ in my drawings - how regimented or compressed they can be but also how they smudge and bear marks from the sweat of my hands. Folds in paper and layers of marks document the time spent with them. Most of the titles reference institutional workplaces and their inhabitants.
The drawings were fabricated with support from Niemeijer Fonds and Amarte Fonds.
George Seamus McGoldrick
George Seamus McGoldrick is an artist working with drawing and sculpture, currently based in Oslo.
Starter Packs, 2023
Part of a continuing series of work titled Starter Packs which reference the artistic starter packs you can buy for children. These packs offer every tool possible to the artistic child; paints, pens, pencils, crayons etc… there is no need to look beyond this offering. The custom moulded containers which hold these tools are rendered useless as and when the paints, pens or tools are either used up or lost, both of which seem to happen incredibly quickly.
The drawings document the offered products of an imagined camera backpack manufacturer
whose bags vary in tartan linings and increased pocket spaces. The tartan fabric linings are used by the backpack company to humanise their merchandise, drawing on the generally believed misnomer in the UK that Scottish surnames or ‘clans’ have their own tartan fabric that is traditional to their family name. In fact this was just a marketing technique dreamt up by Victorian cloth makers to sell more fabric. Like the artistic starter pack, it attempts to remove choice, not by offering you everything, but by making a link to an idea of your individual ancestry.
Time Team, Phil Harding, Waddon, Dorset, 2000, 2024
Time Team, Phil Harding, Waddon, Dorset, 2000 is a colour pencil drawing of a still from an archaeological programme titled Time Team. The image shows Phil Harding pointing to some stones embedded in the floor that don’t look like much but mark the wall of an iron age round house. This is typical of the programme, there is very little found in the way of gold, silver, jewels etc… and in watching you come to realise that the real interest lies in these seemingly empty patches of ground. Similarly to Daisy’s drawings, the programme had an interest in visualising the stratigraphy of time passing with a particular interest in the people and possessions that become truncated within their individual context and time.
The Burrow, 2022
The Burrow takes its title from Franz Kafka’s short story in which a mole is caused crippling anxiety by the elaborate labyrinth of tunnels that it carves and lives within. The mole becomes obsessed with creating the safest burrow possible - so much so that he begins to derive more satisfaction from simply looking at the burrow from outside of its confines, watching how safe he would be were he in it.
The drawing depicts the workbench of a man named Jason who lives as a viking in rural England. He has also created a burrow for himself to live within, one no less elaborate or fantastical than the moles.