‘The Fox and the Crow’ @ Guildford Lane Gallery

27 03 2009

I visited Guildford Gallery in the last few days of this exhibition and found it incredibly beautiful. The exhibition media describes it as ‘a group installation exploring the fusion of jewellery and garment design‘.

The dark room was populated with four garment / jewellery hybrids, eerily suspended in the darkness and illuminated by LEDs from within. The textiles are by Nicole Collins, and the metalwork by Amina McPhee and Rhiannon Smith (Amina will be at Craft Vic’s Hatch in April).

Above the ghostly objects was a two-screen projection of a visual interpretation of the fable by Dimitri Kalagas, Chris Cork, Michael Watson and James Harmsworth – one screen for each protagonist.  The film was silent, almost black and white from memory, and each screen communicated with the other with sometimes outrageous text bubbles. Both the fox and crow masks were especially made for, and displayed alongside, the installation.

Given the ephemeral lighting, it was difficult to take a photograph that captured the mood well. I’ve tried with and without flash – each showing different aspects of the work. [All photographs taken with permission.]

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The day I visited I met Stacy Jewell, the curator. Speaking with her, as someone so involved in the evolution of the work, meant I had a much more informed and deeper understanding than I would have had if I’d just wandered alone. That sort of interaction adds so much to the experience.

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Some of Amina’s jewellery work was also on show in the gallery. One piece, the one on the far right, was made with cut-offs from one of the bodices in the main exhibition – it is my favourite piece.


A Fox once saw a Crow fly off with a piece of cheese in its beak and settle on a branch of a tree. “That’s for me, as I am a Fox,” said Master Reynard, and he walked up to the foot of the tree. “Good-day, Mistress Crow,” he cried. “How well you are looking to-day: how glossy your feathers; how bright your eye. I feel sure your voice must surpass that of other birds, just as your figure does; let me hear but one song from you that I may greet you as the Queen of Birds.” The Crow lifted up her head and began to caw her best, but the moment she opened her mouth the piece of cheese fell to the ground, only to be snapped up by Master Fox. “That will do,” said he. “That was all I wanted. In exchange for your cheese I will give you a piece of advice for the future. “Do not trust flatterers.” [text from here ]



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