Laura Cherry's collages present found images as metaphorical dramas, made up of poignant psychic and physical processes. With their directly opposing elements and heightened perception, they have something in common with John Stezaker's own collages. Like his work, they deliberately delete and reconfigure finely selected visual elements. Three pieces are encased in perspex and suspended in space beneath the arches that divide the main space, thereby exhibiting a lightness of being and enabling the viewer to experience both sides of the constructed image.
One presents a hermit crab crashing into the frame of a classical Greek sculpture, finely cut with the precision of the surgeon's scalpel. Here we have 'culture', a broken relic from antiquity 'liberated' from the past and a perfect nature-hybrid of the crab appropriating an empty shell. The collision is made explicit on the reverse: an indeterminate slice of sea-life cutting through the text of a 'Handbook of Greek Sculpture' at an alarmingly oblique angle. The opposing forces of nature/culture?
One of these two-way images is of a carnivorous plant that appears - through the cut holes that function as pinpoints of light through the paper - to have eaten itself. Another, has precisely cut out negative egg forms which glow as white space. On the reverse, these alluring absences are given solid form, in the midst of an image of undergrowth. This poetic void, where the eye shifts and reads what is or is not there, questions our perceptions. The artist says that "the work requires the viewer to suspend disbelief and make a conceptual leap". In this, they owe much to the rich heritage of Max Ernst and his darkly humorous, bizarre imagination, whose mysterious collages served to bring the unconscious into view.
Alone on a far wall, I can just make out an unidentifiable ruined building in a small image of over-exposed blackness, a solar flare or burn hole cut through the paper. Is this civilisation in meltdown?
Events in Japan reveal how thin the margin is on which our modern world exists, and perhaps 'Scintilla' hints at this with its fragments of other realities and of possibilities for transformation. This may be unsettling in this most unsettling of times but a fertile and playful imagination is alive and well here.