Photo: Kelly Gardner in Kettering, East Midlands

Kelly Gardner


My work deals with memory, traces and residues of the past. I have always been interested in collecting vintage objects that I incorporate in to my work. Objects with a history, a past life that I have recycled.

I use a variety of media in my work. I have printed from lace in my canvases creating veil like forms. Similarly I have made photograms from garments capturing ghostly traces of them. I am interested in the sense of absence and also the trace of a human presence that is left behind. These clothes are those residues, the husks of lives.

My dress sculptures are constructed from book pages bound up with copper wire. The page fragments are wired together creating empty unwearable dresses. The books have been rendered unreadable, dissected, torn, folded and transformed, leaving stories of characters that can only be read in disconnected fragments. The dresses are like cages with keys, buttons, scissors and old photographs caught in the web like form. The objects are wired in to them, like treasured keepsakes from people’s unknown lives, fragments of memories. Lit from within, they cast shadows, echoes and flickers of the past.

Recently I have been working mainly with collage and mosaic. I am fascinated with the obsession and repetition of collecting. My collages are a culmination of things people collect incorporating butterflies, stamps and buttons. Seemingly insignificant objects, a fragment of lace or a lost button, yet they represent fragments of memories, like a patchwork quilt.

My mosaics are made from china from various eras that has been chipped, broken and discarded. I have hand cut and reconstructed the fragments. I find the patterns on old china very beautiful and evocative. Flora and fauna to patterns from the 1960’s and 70’s are a constant source of inspiration.

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Location Kettering, East Midlands
Activities Workshops, Collecting
Artforms / type of project Book Works, Mixed Media, Photography
Tags photograms, collage, textiles, garments, memory, lace, books, sculpture, photography, mosaic

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