Abi Spendlove’s practice explores themes of impermanence and change. Drawn to places and objects that are transforming or decaying she uses them as inspiration for drawing, sculpture and films, often making work with materials that are themselves changeable or impermanent, developing a technique of freezing river water and placing ice and inks on paper to create paintings.
The mediator. An in-between, a go-between, a space for transmission, an aide to changes. The mediator is the water, the floor, the paper, the silk, the ice as it turns through liquid to air, the ink which traces its movement. The mediator in this body of work is the material, connecting work and action, idea and creation, they create shape, carry meaning, reflect light and change.
Abi Spendlove has long been fascinated with spaces and processes of transition, such as evaporation. Much of the work that she creates is produced through natural processes such as melting ice embedded with pigment. The molecular movements of water can be unpredictable and surprising, the flowing shapes produced by water are always unique. The molecular movements of water can be unpredictable and surprising, the flowing shapes produced by water are always unique. Spendlove embraces this chaos, treating nature as a collaborator, utilising the random flow of ink to create paintings on paper, pvc and plaster.
Water can be permeated by light and can also reflect it. Water is present in all living things and is essential for life. In her work, Spendlove has explored underground culverted rivers and wide reflective pools. In Mediator, light plays in the gallery space. In the daytime light streams in through the windows through Spendlove’s standing glass paintings and projects coloured light onto the floor. Down the length of the gallery, natural light wanes, leading to a darker space, assimilating the underground river or hidden pools of water.
This work is about water, place, connections. It is about the passing of time and changing environments. Like the passing of time, water moves and flows in its own way, drawn by gravity or evaporating into the air. Abi Spendlove’s ice and ink paintings track its course and highlight the invisible process of evaporation.
Abi Spendlove (b. Portsmouth, UK, 1985) is a visual artist based in Luton, UK. She studied Fine Art at Byam Shaw and Central Saint Martins in London and completed a Fine Art MA at the University of Hertfordshire in 2018. Her work has been exhibited internationally in London, New York and Tokyo. Key solo and group exhibitions include Underfoot at Storefront Gallery, A Minute Ago at Zabludowicz Collection and Accumulate at St Albans Museum + Gallery. Her work has been purchased by significant collections including Zabludowicz, Franks Suss and Olivier von Schulthess. In 2019 she received a year-long bursary to support the development of her practice and has a studio residency at The Hat Factory Arts Centre. in 2021 she will commence a period of research, funded by the Arts Council, in which she will work with a glaciologist and sculpture specialist to develop a new series of sculpture.