Aleana Egan uses a variety of everyday, recognizable materials to create slender, linear works which act as responses to experience, images and literary descriptions. These materials such as metal, cardboard, roofing felt, filler, paint and fabric are incorporated into a practice which is intuitive and expressive and which works with the materials’ qualities; how they curve, hang or sag. Yet Egan also draws our attention to the everyday-ness of these materials within her installations, and in doing so, seems to instruct us to focus on our own every day moments – remembered places, interactions.
There is an immediacy in Egan’s practice to make experience, descriptions and responses into solid and material form and to set out an alternative time frame for these responses by transformation into sculptural arrangements. It is the intangible moments, layering of conversation, thoughts, reading and looking which echo in the work, with an isolating of moments in literature, an architectural detail or a description of a character’s outfit and translating these into form, shape and colour.
For this exhibition, Egan presents a large sculptural work from which constructed garments are hung. This metal frame is based upon a photograph of a prototype of a demountable Barrack Unit designed by Jean Prouvé in 1939. One garment which hangs from this, is a blouse made from a black & white photograph which accompanied an interview with the writer Ursula K Le Guin. As with much of Egan’s sculptures, each may have a beginning reference point which is throughout the process of making, diluted, shifted or disconnected.
Also included are a group of works which incorporate fabricated ladders. By including these, an emphasis is placed on action, yet in turn, there is also a suggestion of a pause for looking at the poetry inherent in the set-up of a situation.
The title of the exhibition comes from a thought the character Anna Morgan has in Jean Rhys’ 1934 novel ‘Voyage in the dark.’ The book is full of her thoughts while another person is present and often it is this silence in the presence of another, where her true feelings are felt, yet not expressed. This relationship between talk and silence is drawn upon in this new body of work and there is something in the tension between the words that are said and the power of the ones that are unsaid which are focused on.