'What do you bring to the table?' is a familiar question or phrase which can be defined either literally as physical objects brought to the table or figuratively. We all bring our own daily lives to the table but often the most difficult experiences remain 'unmouthed'.
Mhairi Wild's process led work centres around the ontology of breath and phenomenology of illness. The breath before voice and language is the primary phenomenon of lived silence. Psychological and physical pain by their very nature, take the breath away. During this time of global pandemic the breath has new significance.
As a maker of things, the table is an ariel environment, a blank canvas, an unwritten page, and arrangement of materials and possibilities, amongst which are memory, time, vulnerability, physical and emotional pain, as well as tangible things.
The three stripped back abandoned table which form the main supports of the installation, were rescued from outside the master's studios, their destruction arrested bringing them into the protective interior space. A space of solace.
In 'Consolations', David Whyte suggests that 'solace is the art of asking the beautiful question, of ourselves, of our world or of one another, in fiercely difficult and un-beautiful moments. Solace is what we must look for when the mind cannot bear the pain, the loss or the suffering that eventually touches every life and every endeavour; when longing does not come to fruition in a form we can recognise, when people we know and love disappear, when hope must take a different form that the one we have shaped for it. Solace is the beautiful, imaginative home we make where disappointment can go to be rehabilitated'
Mhairi has used parian slip, porcelain clay, oiled walnut and beeswax, as a reflexive ekphrastic material response to poetic text, to create this body of work. Her work references different temporalities, presence and absence, fragility and entropy, but also preservation and renewal.
Through her own lived experience, Mhairi makes visible both the universal and deeply personal nature of loss and grief.