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Drifting Proximities

Bina Butcher, Tessa Beale & Phoebe Clarke

Cool Change Contemporary 2019


Water possesses the ability to demand of us to be present and this in turn elicits mental, emotional and physiological responses. The character of water is unbound and free but it has density, exerts pressure, effecting, changing its environment. Bodies of water present to us visually as an environment with which we have an instinctive empathy, a constant connection.


Due to its ever changing nature, the surface of water offers ripe ground for considering texture in a living, moving body. The artists have explored the surface of water through hand-made ‘stop-frame’ immobilisations of waves and water-top surfaces. The generation of visual studies and constructs approached through different ways of seeing, foreground different characteristics of the materiality of water. 


There is a rhythm and ephemerality to the movement of water that is difficult to capture in a single static moment. Water is a medium through which to meditate upon and explore movement in material practice in this exhibition.  As the repetition, rhythm and movement of water is explored the dynamics between the works in the gallery lean towards ideas of capturing this act of perpetual motion. Water in motion is synonymous with acts of contemplation, lulling us until the pace of our thoughts matches the pace and cyclical rhythm of the ripples and the waves.  

As an initial visual and material response to the subject, the artists’ use water as a point of departure to explore parallels in their respective practices. Drifting Proximities is a collaborative exhibition that investigates the visual, sonic and tactile qualities of water, in the work of three artists; Tessa Beale, Bina Butcher-Monsees and Phoebe Clarke whose practices converge in the ways that they approach the treatment of materials. The works reflect their shared understanding of water through installation, sound and textiles questioning the value they place on water as a material.

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