Charlie Godet Thomas is concerned with the connections between visual art and literature, the act of writing, the autobiographical, the tragic and the humorous. His work is summoned from unlikely places; be it street signage, American drain cleaning products, documentaries about motorcycle stuntmen, or an extensive archive of personal photographs.
Trauma and photography have some similarities that intrigue Thomas, namely that a traumatic experience can render a moment continually present in a person’s life, whilst photography has the same ability to hold a moment still, ever recurring by proxy of the image. His manipulation of his source material towards total abstraction comes from his desire for the images to be something else, the works become, as Thomas says, “Liberated from the brutality of their content.”
Objects, installations and assemblages combine a range of traditional materials including stone, concrete and metals with contemporary materials including light, moving image and sound. Through a process of remaking and rearranging the ready-made objects of our society, Lucy’s artwork creates uncanny relationships between seemingly disparate materials and things in an attempt to make sense of her everyday, situated, social context.
Unapologetically defining herself as a ‘sculptor’ in a time of dematerialised art practice, she embraces the deeply rooted commitment to craft skills within this art form and offers elasticity to sculptural technique that harnesses the values, principles and commitments of a sensibility preoccupied with the phenomenological experience of materiality and space.
With Pylon and Pier, Lucy takes the public square as the work’s starting point. Traditionally this is where statues of distinguished people are sited, usually placed there to reinforce notions of power or national prestige. Lucy’s sculpture reverses this, however, presenting a statue of the Titan Atlas – not as in Greek mythology holding up the sky for eternity, but fallen from its plinth and, grasping the globe, lain on its side. The viewer’s gaze, which would normally be directed upwards in awe, now stares across on the felled colossus drained, the loss of his mythological strength underscored by the diminutive size of his body – he is only 1.4 metres in height, thus allowing the beholder a more intimate interaction with the work.
Lucy’s use of Atlas is a direct visual reference to another inspiration for the work, American poet Wallace Stevens’ poem, The Public Square (1931), which describes the demolition of a modernist building as a metaphor for systemic collapse. After the dust settles, all that remains, Wallace avers, is, ‘The bijou of Atlas, the moon/Was last with its porcelain leer.’