On Restrictions, the Importance of Asides and New Beginnings

Act 1

A partitioning wall down the middle of Borough Road Gallery provided space on one side for the selection I had made from the collection and a studio space on the other. Not permitted to use oil paint in the Gallery for health and safety reasons created a restriction. A positive ‘side effect’ to this limitation quickly developed into finding alternative routes that provided opportunities for exploration; this included using ink and charcoal among other things. Revelations are often hidden in asides: I have done as much listening to and conversing with visitors to the Gallery as I have studying the works themselves. Things said which at first appeared as minor have led me to diverse and surprising places.


A play’s rhythm is interrupted and the audience temporarily looses concentration. In my case the daily routine of working in the Gallery came to an end and I returned to my studio in Paddington. Working again in oils, the canvas acts as backdrop, a theatrical plane from which the action takes place. The crows’ uniform blackness creates anonymity, a mask, and now cast as architects they are acting up in the cathedral of cups.

Act 2

I purposely restricted my research into A David Bomberg Legacy – The Sarah Rose Collection when I made my application to the Borough Road Gallery Residency 2014/15. Without a plan of action it made it impossible to pre-design the exhibition, or take advantage of a ‘dress rehearsal’ to fabricate a conclusion. ‘Hands Rhythm: Susan Sluglett A Conversation with the Borough Group’ is an example of an unpredictable singular response to A David Bomberg Legacy – The Sarah Rose Collection combined with my lack of interest in conclusiveness - I much prefer new beginnings.

Extended Run

The Borough Road Gallery exhibition will run through the summer, 24 April – 4 July concurrently with my solo show at Blyth Gallery ‘Five Floors Up: Loose Pieces Drop Off’, 3 June – 10 July. The work at Blyth Gallery is the continuation of themes and ideas that have come out of my experiences during my time as Artist in Residence at Borough Road Gallery and coincidentally both exhibitions sit within university buildings, which in itself, has its own rhythm.

Susan Sluglett 2015