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|Source: Brontë Parsonage Facebook Wall|
MISS | Roy Voss | 07 June - 20 July 2014, South Square GalleryThe South Square Gallery Blog gives more information:
Brontë Parsonage Museum (until September)
MISS is a two-part commission that takes the form of an exhibition in South Square Gallery and sited artworks located around the Brontë Parsonage Museum.
In the gallery a theatrically over-sized backdrop cuts diagonally across the first space, emphasising the domestic scale and feel of the room. The painted image is a kind of landscape, but with the appearance of a ubiquitous brick wall – landscape as wall, wall as backdrop - and has an available back and front. An ornamental bouquet of flowers, elevated by a simple stand, becomes a standard lamp, with its bare bulb labouring against the back of the canvas like a diminutive sun. Beyond this a sculpture of a doorframe suggests movement from one physical or psychological place to another and signals a shift in scale in the second space.
In response to the Brontë Country landscape and its recognition as a visitor destination, found postcards are utilised in a series of small collages. Each collage has a word cut from the back of a posted postcard, which has then been reinserted so that it appears within the picture on the front, becoming an accomplice or a foil to the image.
In contrast to the work exhibited in the gallery, where the landscape is artificially imagined within the confines of the interior, Voss uses the Parsonage as a site for subtle interventions set within the dramatic backdrop of Brontë Country. Inspired by the context of the parsonage, three steel signs of varying sizes are sited in and around the Parsonage’s grounds, each spelling out the word MISS. Although the work appears direct, the word being simply a title that suggests singleness or youth, the word also suggests a longing for someone or something; there is an idea of missing the three Brontë Misses.
MISS is the latest in a series of annual commissions, developed in partnership with the Brontë Parsonage Museum, which provides the opportunity for artists to engage with the context of the surrounding landscape.
Giving the heavy significance Voss places on the single word within his work during the site visit I asked him to expand on the significance of the word ‘Miss’:
‘Given we are in Brontë country, there is an idea of missing the three Misses. Miss is simply a title that suggests singleness or youth. It could also suggest a longing for someone or something, but it has several other meanings of course: To not hit a target, to fail to be somewhere, to overlook or not comprehend something, to not take a chance, to fall short.’
Voss’ signs will be made from untreated steel which will gradually begin to rust, so as to form a kind of physical proof of the weather, rather than being weatherproof. It is possible to draw links between the literary work of the Brontë sisters and Voss signs, as the Brönte sisters’ work are heavily influenced by the dramatic, unruly nature of the Moor’s weather. I think his choice of material is particularly fitting for the context of the piece, when you consider the surrounding industries located on Thornton Road. As I travel to South Square and drive through the outskirts of Bradford up to Thornton I pass many industrial builders yards and steel works. By locating manufactured steel structures directly in to the picturesque rural landscape, I see in Voss’ work the connotations of the historical landscape of the area; a history of industry and manufacturing in the heart of the picturesque Yorkshire countryside.