Solo show : Snake

Belfast Exposed.

Snake by Clare Strand, is a new body of work based on a selection of images sourced from the artist’s extensive personal archive, some of which was recently published as Girl Plays with Snake by MACK Books, London.

Here, Strand presents the work for the first time as an experimental mixed media installation of photography, text and technology, colluding within the gallery space.

Snake takes its starting point from Strand’s ongoing engagement with the scrapbooks, magazines and photographs, which she has been drawing together since her mid-teens. These include an uncategorised overview of the utilitarian uses of photography, from recording crime to documenting picket fences. The vast array of image types included in Strand’s collection is as diverse as instructional mechanics or the structure of living organisms.

On the collection of snake images included here, Strand remarks, “I have always hated snakes but when I found an image of one I would cut it out and stick it into my scrapbook then hide it away. It strikes me as rather perverse to collect what I despise”

The seven large-scale framed photographic works reflect upon this part of Strand’s collection. Each photograph reveals a magnified fragment of an original image, showing a women holding and gazing fondly at her snake. The laughing women appear to have a command and firm grip on these creatures, presenting expressions of power, control and a possible striking of power balance.

Using the written stories on the back of the collected press images and entering them on to online automatic poetry generators, Strand has created her own poetic compositions, which are then boldly screen-printed over the top of the snake women. The result is an overt and graphic interplay between text and image. Alongside the framed works, another automatic poetry generator, constructed for this exhibition, is projected onto the walls of the gallery, creating new random arrangements of Strand’s poems. The automatic text is printed out as a snaking ticker tape for the audience to tear off and take away.