Hearld’s exhibition for York Art Gallery is a similar mix of joyful, odd and esoteric objects, which draws on his interest in the eccentricities of British folk art, taxidermy and crafts. Cabinets of taxidermy spoonbills sit adjacent to a crowded hoard of creamware and ceramics, as well as paintings by Edward Burra, a row of rather sombre rocking horses (echoed by a seahorse-shaped ship’s figurehead in startling gold leaf), scarlet military uniforms, clogs and an ornately painted wooden ice-cream cart.
“When it works well, artists can bring objects together with feeling,” says Hearld of the appeal of inviting artists to recontextualise museum collections. “If I succeed, I hope people will be able to engage with the objects in the way that I do, probably in a different way, but in a rich way. I'm not looking at the collection purely in an academic sense, I'm creating a display in a way that thinks about the room like a three-dimensional collage…bringing things side by side and making them speak to each other.”