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Man of Kent at Piccalilli Gallery

Corey Bartle-Sanderson

In his first gallery solo show in London, the artist presents his first ever ink drawings, depicting found images and half-remembered tableaux of pubs he lived in and frequented as a child of a publican in the Kentish town of Tonbridge, where the river Medway splits the county into Men of Kent and Kentish Men. On the corex walls, three large drawings -in beetroot, coffee and walnut- are pinned in with foraged blackthorn. The homemade plant inks and makeshift felt-tips carved from birch polypore used to make them sit atop a low platform with items ranging from darts to jars of dried onion skins and pewter mugs that have been partially melted into casts of bottlecaps, lighters and car keys. The twelve small drawings in oak gall and leftover cyanotype inks, weighted down by the curios, are impressions of archival photographs found while scouring the Tonbridge section of www.doverkent.com. A collection of tongue-and-groove panels salvaged from an old school that make the platform are propped up by over one hundred brown glass beer bottles, with stacked vintage beermats compensating for the uneven concrete floor. The contents of the bottles, sixty litres of expired brown ale donated by a gallery in Nottingham, have been emptied into demijohns and brewing vessels sat in a recess. Each is equipped with a vinegar mother and an aquatic bubbler pumping constant oxygen in. Over the course of the exhibition, the beer will go through aerobic fermentation and develop a productive environment for acetobacteria to create a unique malt vinegar. This non-human collaboration renders a product unusable and illicit by consumer standards into a living probiotic seasoning for the home cook. The old pub cellar that Piccalilli now occupies is a fitting and familiar site of fermentation for both material lifecycle performances and emotional hardship derived from complex family dynamics. Parental divorce, bigoted socialisation and normalised alcoholism provided a backdrop for a strange and inconsistent upbringing created psychological blockages that through this installation the artist is trying to metabolise.

Corey Bartle-Sanderson

Corey Bartle-Sanderson

Corey Bartle-Sanderson

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