Ordered decay

Taxidermy, voodoo and scavenging at the banks of the Thames may not sound particularly appealing; but young artist Katie Louise Surrdige manages to marry these rather dark threads into an arresting visual narrative.

Surridge’s first solo show, Voo-dology, opens at the EB & Flow gallery next month, and showcases the artist’s Womble-like knack of creating something thought-provoking from artefacts of detritus and decay.

Katie Louise Surridge, A Beautiful Struggle 2011. Courtesy the artist and EB  Flow
Katie Louise Surridge, A Beautiful Struggle 2011. Courtesy of the artist and EB Flow

Her large scale installations are structured from items unearthed on rather unsavoury sounding ‘scavenging trips’, utilising objects including basketball hoops, animal skins, fence postings and straw.

The show will present Live Through This, a new installation influenced by trips from horse fairs such as Cumbria’s Appleby (yes, the one made infamous through My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding). The piece features shire horse collars, a cattle feeder and Victorian clay pipes foraged from the murky banks of the river Thames.

Katie Louise Surridge, And in Pole Position 2011. Courtesy of the artist and EB  Flow
Katie Louise Surridge, And in Pole Position 2011. Courtesy of the artist and EB Flow

The equine is a recurring theme in Surridge’s work. Having been awarded the Dolbey Travel Scholarship last year, the artist undertook a creative fact-finding sojourn to Ireland, where she saw first-hand the Gypsy culture, aligning their penchant for collecting scrap metal with her own found-object based practice.

Nathan Engelbrecht, co-director of EB & Flow, says, ‘Surridge weaves the mundane and disregarded into something magical and visceral through the closely knitted narratives that she adds to each piece.’

Katie Louise Surridge, Skull and Nails 2011. Credits courtesy of the artist and EB  Flow
Katie Louise Surridge, Skull and Nails 2011. Credits courtesy of the artist and EB Flow

Though many of us wouldn’t find the idea of animal corpses particularly ‘magical’, Surridge’s work is frequently informed by the organic, shown in the use of bones and animals, which she rather bravely taxidermies herself.

Co-director of EB &Flow, Margherita Berloni adds, ‘Through this her work displays an element of shamanistic and transgressive ritual, a kind of simultaneous veneration and abjection of the animal.’

Katie Louise Surridge, So Over 2010. Credits courtesy of the artist and EB  Flow.
Katie Louise Surridge, So Over 2010. Credits courtesy of the artist and EB Flow.

Voo-dology runs from 10 June-26 August at EB & Flow, 77 Leonard Street, London, EC2A

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