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‘Nourishment II’, Anousha Payne

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We are pleased to host ‘Nourishment II: Branches that have radiated from a crystallised central theme’, curated by Anousha Payne. Open online from 26 November, and open by appointment from 3 - 12 December.

Inspired by the text ‘Mind-Map’ by Lucy Evetts, the artists have created works that respond to and reflect on ideas within the prose.

Featured artists: Jesse Pollock, Xiuching Tsay, Johnny Lowry, Lucy Evetts, Nour El Saleh, Sara Anstis, Tristan Pigott, Laila Tara.

MIND-MAP (branches that have radiated from a crystallized central theme)

The tiles of three red roofed bungalows run into the next, nudging one another in the constraints of an orderly queue. A dark grey gutter draws a crude line around them. The gardens are sparse, except for the odd weed, a hosepipe, a circle of dead grass and an anonymous steel can whose label has been washed away by the rain. The coordinates are mapped by a brown picketed fence; equally dividing them into three. Beyond the fence is a dusty path and beyond the dusty path are acres of mismatch and miscellaneous fields whose puffed out chests brim golden and green. Amongst these fields is a farm where grain barrels and machinery are dotted around and dispersed haphazardly.

At the furthest house a man takes his seat at the kitchen table, smoothing down the creases in his shirt and tie. Before him is a small plate with an egg, a cup of black coffee and a postcard of Leonardo DaVinci’s’ ‘Adoration of the Magi’. He flips the card, reads its contents and places it inside his breast pocket. Clearing his throat, he holds his egg upright tolerating the heat between the thicker pads of skin of his thumb and index finger. He rotates it whilst gently tapping, carefully removing the shell and membrane, making a neat little pile of its debris. He admires its pearly surface, rolls it in a little salt and takes a bite. His wife is making an omelet; oscillating between seasoning and stirring whilst continually tasting, her cooking subconsciously subsiding into eating until there is nothing left. She is also talking without averting her eyes from the pan; however, she compensates for this by jabbing the wooden spoon in his direction. He wipes his mouth and heads towards their bedroom and into their bathroom, leaning up against the sink. He splashes himself with cold water, immersing his face into the fibres of one of their pastel pink towels. Breathing in, he notices the slight musty burnt aroma of having been tumble-dried a little too long. When he opens his eyes, he sees in the reflection that his wife is standing close behind him - still jabbing with the wooden spoon spraying spongey crumbs of egg. He opens the cabinet to retrieve his tiny comb nestled in a womb of bottled pills and creams. As he shuts the door, he sees that she has nudged a little closer, her face now occupying the majority of the mirror. He glances at her mouth mid motion, taking in the slight silky down on her top lip. He navigates his eyes to his own face and begins combing his moustache freeing it from little flecks of white stubborn egg. He watches the horizontal lines of his hair order and form, listening to the zip and crack of the plastic sidling down through his bristled whiskers. He calculates three distinguishing types of hair; grey, frazzled and stray - which when compacted into one bushy mass has the manners of topiary. Inhaling, he focuses and draws his face closer into the mirror - observing every pothole and mark. He lets his eyes liaise over the taught skin on his cheekbones and the slackening skin around his jaw, which splays into chiseled rivets running down his neck. He looks at his eyebrows, noticing how they cock up like a bush fire and the yellowing white of his eyes that are slowly being impregnated by fading crimson veins.

A little way from the bungalow a farm stands still in the stagnant heat, apart from a horse drowning in a slurry pit. The silence is punctuated by the erratic slapping and frenzied movement of the horses’ heavy mass wadding in the muck. During frequent intervals of snorting and heavy breathing, its body, racked by a cocktail of fear and exhaustion, keeps very still except for the rise and fall of its ribcage. The horse now camouflaged in a cloak of ebony bellows its nostrils that rhythmically flash a scarlet warning sign. The moments of panicked movement are starting to deplete as slowly it starts to sink; the fight is becoming obsolete as the iridescent treacle makes its way up with increasing momentum. The slurry begins to pucker and pop around its nostrils; forcing its neck to arch and its mussel to protrude into the air, (the repositioning of its head sending skimming ripples of breath on the slurries surface). The horses’ ears twitch as flies dance on the tips and its eyes begin to dart furiously.

At the nearest house in the line of three, a girl sits on the corrugated lid of a log bin. She examines her thighs as they begin to melt into the plastic grooves; creating shallow pools of perspiration. She gets up and disappears for a moment, then returns with an ice cream and repositions on top of the bin. Her dog suddenly bounds up and plunges its head into her crotch, retrieving little crumbs of debris and food that have collected there. Furiously she pushes its heavy head and scissors her legs to beckon him off, he then makes for another lunge forcing her to give up her sweaty spot. She stands up and surveys the garden, noting the lack of activity apart from the ecstatic ejaculation of a leaky hosepipe. She makes way for it, squirting water into her mouth then arching her head; she starts to gargle then discovers the dent made in the earth from a washing line and dribbles into it. Lying on her back she takes off her sock and picks little bits of fluff from between her nails and toes. Examining them, she hesitates a moment before smelling her sock, then makes a ball with it and tosses it over the fence. She rolls onto her stomach fondling and pulling at the grass, drifting to sleep as sweat collects in the creases of her eyelids.

‘Nourishment II’ is a charitable event that raises funds in aid of Prananth Children’s Home, India. The Home was co-founded in 2009 by Anousha’s grandmother, Joyce, in Hosur, South India, as a home for thirty children aged 5 to 18. The aim of 'Nourishment' is to use art exhibitions as a way of raising money for the organization. All funds raised from this show will go directly to the Prananth Children’s Home.