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In The Open | Andrea Thoma & Deborah Gardner

Andrea Thoma’s research in relation to practice is concerned with notions of place, identity and dwelling in a contemporary art context. She is particularly interested in the juxtaposition of diverse media to reflect on the complexities of time-space relations and how the everyday allows for philosophical considerations regarding our being in the world.Thoma has published journal articles on image perception, relations between moving and still images, sound and image within art installations and durational multiplicity.

Her most recent “Blau – Longing and the Repetitions of (Deleuzian) Becoming” was published by the International Journal of the Image (2016); her artist’s book Blau was published in March 2016 by Wild Pansy Press.

She has been involved in various international exhibitions and artist collaborations amongst them the collaborative project with Deborah Gardner, Textures of Place, that was initially shown at the Academy of Fine Arts in Llodz in April 2017 and will tour to other European and British venues, Shifting Perspectives, with Associate Professor Emerita Joyce Lyon of the University of Minnesota, at the Foyer Gallery, University of Leeds, (2016), Endlosschleife 2041, Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart, Germany (2014), Dialogue in Place: Volume II at Form and Content Gallery Minneapolis, USA (2012), European Identities, European Touring exhibition, various exhibition venues in Germany, Poland, Italy and Spain (2010-11).

Deborah Gardner’s work points to an experience of the physical world and architecture of matter, particularly physical phenomena, whose structures have a propensity for a networkability or a potential for propagation. Often this practice involves a consideration of place where aspects of proximity and distance play vital roles in the encounter. The works hover between formalism and figuration, abstraction and embodiment.

She lectures at the University of Leeds and is a member of LAND2 and the Royal Society of British Sculptors. She has been involved in various international projects and exhibited in galleries, museums, cemeteries, sculpture parks and industrial regeneration sites. Selected exhibitions since 2010 include: Monument at the Musee des Beaux Arts, Calais, France, Conway Actants, Conway Hall, London, Landscape, Art & Uncertainty, Southampton City Art gallery, European Identities, Inselgalerie, Berlin, European Sculpture Parco Culturale, Turin, Italy. Recent residencies include: Conway Hall, London and Placing the Mill, Armley Mills Industrial Museum.

This year Deborah collaborated with Andrea Thoma in Texture of Place, Galeria Strefa Erasmusa, Łódź,Poland, and completed an Arts Council funded solo exhibition Interweave at the Bradford Industrial Museum. Other current research includes: Bradford Childhood Cosmos (Betterjn Start Bradford and University of Leeds) and Soapbox : Science & Art (Zoological Society of London and University of Leeds).

Of Plants and Planets is a collaboration between artists Deborah Gardner and Andrea Thoma and the title of their book, where they share written vignettes and images on the vibrancy of plant life. Inspired by Anthony Huxley’s 1978 book Plant and Planet, the reflective, conversational nature of the exchange centres on the structure, biology and ecological functions of plants, their native and inherited environments and our encounters and relationships with them.

The exhibition installation will act as a constellation, which explores cellularity, instability, and interaction as modes of assemblage. Material presence, narrative and abstraction will form dialogues between sculptures, paintings, and drawings on plant life.  The shifting environments of the local, wilderness and the exotic will be considered and enriched by imaginary and observational journeys across time and space, ranging from the interior space of a plant to a lunar crater named after a botanist.