Dark As A Pocket by Francesca Wilde and Nicola Lee
In Francesca Wilde and Nicola Lee’s artist book entitled Dark As A Pocket, the pockets of the folded pages contain similarly folded architectural images printed on both sides: on one side, what looks like Georgian period room with ceiling and doors is presented as a visual image only. On the reverse, the same interior has handwritten text over all its surfaces. In the contrast between the two, sight and sound separate. One version is silent; the other functions more like a diary or missive exchange between two lovers, a kind of privileged commentary few might see. Concealment is central in this aesthetic. Folding, in a material sense, tucks away and neatly packages, essentially concealing but revealing a top surface. This work is based on Francesca’s long-standing research into the work and life of Mary Delany, an eighteenth century Englishwoman born to the aristocracy, who was also an artist and writer. As they collaborated, Nicola noted that "much of the conversation between Delany, Francesca and myself concerned our own creative spaces; both physical and metaphysical."
This attention to space is visible in the folded images of room interiors, but happens as well in the folding and pockets of the book materials. Personal and public spaces of the past are revisited in the present. Her text is an echo, a ghost, a presence we see and almost seem to hear by contrast with the empty rooms. Sight and text defy each other.
Nicola Lee is a visual artist. She works with both traditional and digital resources as an individual practitioner and in cross-disciplinary partnerships and collaborations. She has recently completed an MA in Textiles at Huddersfield University. Her research has focused on the nature of visual tactility and she approaches materials with great enjoyment. She is currently based in York.
Francesca Wilde is a Senior Lecturer in Literature Studies and CreativeWriting, York St John University. Her research and writing are inspired by the mediations of, the spaces between, word and image. She is working on a digital edition of the letters of Mary Delany (1700-1788) Bluestocking, artist, botanist and social commentator, and appropriating the Delany texts for poems and artefacts.