About Silver Shoal
Silver Shoal is purpose-built for The Fishbowl Gallery. It is a response to the space of the gallery, elements already present, and its feel and location.
The long narrow space predicates the shape of the build. The thin lines of the safety glass find an echo in the thread lines used to hang elements. The suspended curving shape with its receding color-shift arises directly from the the turn-of-the-century aquarium feel of the space. And the location of the gallery, among the brick arches of the Underground, calls to be filled with light and color that could spill into the adjoining space and draw the eye.
Location is key to the installation concept in another way—the gallery is carved out from the back of an antiquarian bookstore, and books even peer over their high shelves into the display space. Silver Shoal is thus a visual exploration of our ideas of book and bookishness.
A reprint of the original Encyclopedia Britannica forms the visual mass of this installation. It seems fitting to use a book which contains the collected knowledge of the late 18th century as a representative for books in their myriad variety. The yellowing age-spotted paper reminds us of the occupants of countless library stacks. Now encased in beeswax and pigment, the pages have a different purpose.
We introduced aluminum roofing nails, the shoal in a sea of pages, as the dissonant element. The conflict, as it were, in a story. The nails break the directionality of other elements, introduce a hard edged quality, while at the same time being a contradiction themselves. Nails are fasteners; they are heavy, and they are dark. Here, they are a light silver, weigh practically nothing, are themselves fastened with twine, and chime with a silvery cadence in the slightest breeze.
Solliday | Mason