Thriving in Disturbed Ground  —
Caitlyn Holly Main
Niamh Moloney
Hanne Lillee
M.E. Smit-Dicks
Oktavia Schreiner



Opening 29.10.21 from 18:00-21:00

Exhibition Hours 12:00-18:00 / Thursday-Sunday

‘Thriving in Disturbed Ground’ is a group exhibition centring on ritual, rouge spiritualism, labour and memory as historical tools for female self-actualisation and inner freedom. The artists explore themes of consumption, subsumption, ghostliness, and the creation of alternative narratives through repetition. It consists of new works by Oktavia Schreiner, Niamh Moloney, Caitlyn Holly Main, and collaborative new work by Hanne Lillee and M.E. Smit-Dicks.

This exhibition also features a companion publication ‘Thriving in Disturbed Ground’ designed and edited by Aga Paulina Młyńczak and Isabella Shields.

With a shared interest in materiality and ecology, Lillee and Smit-Dicks have worked collaboratively over the past year to create a new series of sculptural works specifically for 16 Nicholson Street. Raw natural materials, such as nettles and thistle seeds, have been gathered and collected around the city and have been manually processed into the base materials to create the works. This is a slow, laborious process producing modest results that underscore the themes of labour and pre-industrial production.

Caitlyn Holly Main is an Aberdonian artist concerned with intimacy, notions of romance, emotional labour and consumption. She seeks to create works that accommodate fragility – incorporating tenuous balance and indications of mawkish femininity in representations of disembodiment and nourishment. In this exhibition, Main uses the motif of a ghost to render the body as something fluid, meagre or transparent: something not constrained to work or productivity, like shadows of dissipated human presence – or a thirst for contact made almost physical, just out of focus. Main evokes a gentle form of haunting: a type of phantom muscle memory, evoking touch without its conclusion. The antithesis of this ghostly body is the very physical reality of food. Flesh is palatable, a living entity suddenly made inanimate: alive then raw. Disembodiment and anthropomorphism render food strange, surreal. Concepts of nourishment are obscured whilst trying to understand the inherent politics (and morality) of food, health and wealth. 

Niamh Moloney‘s work investigates the connections between narrative, time, the body and the cosmos. She works mainly with drawing, installation, sculpture, text and collaborative practice. Linking happenings in the physical world with the unseen is a consistent thread throughout her practice. The Pleiades are a cluster of stars that reside in the constellation of Taurus. There are many stories told across cultures about these stars that have startling resemblances, leading some to believe that these legends are the oldest stories in the world. For ‘Thriving In Disturbed Ground‘, Moloney is making an offering to these ancient time keepers that will materialise as an installation presenting drawings amongst small made and found objects. The installation will also include a series of wax tablets each one representing a sister. I am hoping to envelop this installation with a scent that is made for the exhibition.

Oktavia Schreiner’s work involves the creation of iconic forms in ceramic, as she paints them with slips and glazes and combines them with wooden constructions. The images, forms and work titles tell stories of fragility, loss, order, healing, pleasure and the human (in)ability to orientate oneself in the world. For the exhibition at 16 Nicholson Street, a new sculpture will be shown, which deals with the symbolism, stories and shapes of a religion invented by a young girl who tries to find her own truth while being torn between the strict Catholicism of her environment and her parents’ atheism.

Preceding the exhibition, 16NSt host the launch of Schreiner’s collaborative book and artwork ‘New Rituals/Neue Rituale’.

Curators and editors: Isabella Shields / Aga Paulina Młyńczak. 

Fragrance Development: The Library of Olfactive Materials.

Technicial Support: Sean Ellcombe / Nell Cardozo / Gavin Thomson

Thank you to: Coco Cardozo and Jack James

With thanks to Creative Scotland for exhibition support.

Photography credit: Bart Urbański