On Thursday 2nd March 2017, it was the turn of the third group (the penultimate show before it was my group’s go) of our Art/Work/Life module.
The partakers in the show were as follows: Ashleigh Page-Curley, Lynsey James, Fiona Smith, Deborah O’Brien, Anton Jackson, Victoria Obee, Amy Wareham and Andreia Andrade.
The curatorial text read as thus:
The Human ability perceive, scrutinise and analyse the beauty of the world around us, is a fascinating trait, although subjective in nature and guided heavily by one’s own personal perspective bias. Therefore, most aesthetic appreciation and acknowledgement can be said to shaped almost exclusively by one’s own individual thoughts, preferences, experiences and feelings – but is inherently limited to one’s own narrow perspective.
Art however, gives the audience an opportunity to ponder over the alternate – and often disparate – observations of the world we live in from the perspective of another human mind; this ability to analyse and appreciate art at their own pace gives viewers a chance to really explore the ‘humanity’ of a given work from a different point of view. This affords the viewer a chance to experience a genuine connection with the artist on a somewhat personal level, and appreciate their world view as shaped by their own individual experiences.
“Acknowledge” intends to shed light on the minutiae of the ‘human condition’, offering an insight into the various divergent yet interlinking aspects of human emotion, intellect and behaviour, as seen through the eyes of 9 individual up-and-coming Artists. Pondering the finite details of existence within the modern world, “Acknowledge” explores ideas such as; Nature, Physics, Psychology, Musicality, Trauma, Healing, Movement, Meditation, Material Obsession and Mortality – and how they shape our perception of and interaction with the world around us.
The Works exhibited cover a range of mediums including Mixed Media, Paint, Sculptural Works and Ready-Mades. The use of such widespread variation within a single exhibit – although unconventional – only highlights the notion of individual human actions and experiences, as each artist displayed makes use of their own unique modus operandi. As is the nature with such variation, the gallery space chosen had to be universally complimentary to the artworks displayed, therefore this type of “White Cube” Studio space was chosen, so as to avoid drawing focus to the chromatic contrast in any one work over the others.
One of the stand out sections of this show was upon the entrance of the show. The title “Acknowledge” was in big foam writing stuck on a transportable wall around head height of the viewer. It stood out and you knew exactly where you were.
Despite the natural flow of the show, the group did struggle to start. In one of the original meetings for this module, this group admitted (with only three people present at this meeting on the day) that they had yet had a meeting. This was the week before the first group had opened their exhibition. Our group had had around 3 meetings up to this point. So, without suggesting the lack of communication, the reasoning for the show did lack coherency – from where the works were placed to the curatorial text.
To coincide with Fiona Smith’s piece of artwork in the show ‘The Acceptance of Myself’, looking at the inner-self and meditation, and the nature of her own activities, she decided to include a interactive section of the show to invite people in – she bought sweets, and wrapped around a bit of paper, which had something written in invisible ink on. This was a good idea, and got people eating, schmoozing, and talking about the works; somewhat giving the show a more informal feel, yet didn’t degrade the show.
The works where spaced out well on the walls, yet this selected show was vast in that of sculptural works. Andie Andrade had a few plaster plinths which were laid out well, yet took up a lot of room. Deborah O’Brien’s piece ‘Black Swan’ required some room as there were balls suspended from a wired harp-like object; Deborah provided a tool, and regularly someone would go and adjust the balls so that they’d start off at a certain speed, then somewhat find their own rhythm/speed/dynamism, therefore matching the instrumental element of the piece, with it being made from a reconstructed piano/organ.
Anton Jackson’s ‘Barky’ was placed in the corner; another sculptural element to the show, suggested a creature mounted upon a mass of plastic bottles, fake grass and dwindling moss; reflecting the effect of plastic upon society, most likely the effect of waste too.
Victoria Obee also had her piece of work ‘Empty Puppet’ hanging in a section of the room, which were little bits of suspended mimicked children’s clothing made in porcelain, distinguishing the fragility of a child. An amazing, and well thought through piece of work, yet, again took up a lot of room with the combination of Jackson’s, O’Brien’s, and Andrade’s works, and also the big movable wall at the forefront of the gallery. Ultimately, with the mass of visitors, it was sometimes a struggle to find space to walk around.
I also believe that selected lighting could have been better – particularly on Deborah O’Brien’s partnering piece ‘Beegeesus’, This piece of work was in a black frame, with a black background, a record disc, with a male figure, a likeness to Jesus and one of the Gibb brothers from the popular band The Beegees. Due to the reflective nature of glass, I found it very hard to take a picture of this certain work, and failed to capture its full potential. I’ve been lucky enough to see it better lighting within the studio, as I’ve spoken to Debbie about the work previously, yet, for a visitor, who may not ever see the piece again, it could have had a bit more thought put into either the production of the glass, or selecting a light to show the work in a light of its full potential.
The final thing I’d like to pick up on was the catalogue. Outside of the gallery space, as you walk through to the show, there were nine catalogues suspended from string, showing the works of the selected participants in the gallery space.
The idea of them being suspended matched some of the works, like Vicky’s being suspended on thin wire, and reaffirming an idea of the fragile nature of works in the show. The catalogue was well laid out, and had a professional finish, however, lacked a few things.
The first being that the curatorial text was not in the catalogue, something that had been done before in the previous catalogues from the two weeks before.
The pages had the same format, and was very thorough, yet these were the only copies. Unlike all of the other groups, who had taken the time to print out additional copies for the visitors, this group failed to do so; the nine on the wall were those printed off for the artists as a part of the documentation. Perhaps saving costs, this did unfortunately lack professionalism. It wasn’t hard for me in particular to do this, but I found it quite a nuisance having to take pictures of each page of the catalogue, and them being suspended to the wall, hole punched through, with o support, it was a struggle to hold one handed and then take an image of this catalogue.
Nonetheless, it was a fantastic turnout, and I’d like to congratulate those in the show!
Top Left: 365 Days of Grief | Bottom Left: Britta | Right: Fluffy Balloons
Top Left: Mass | Bottom Left: Aestuarium | Right: Formless
Left: Green and Pink | Right: Untitled (Blue)
Above: Black Swan | Below: Beegeesus
Left: Empty Puppet | Right: Lost
Oral, Phalic, Latent and Genital
Left: Stockings | Right: Sultry Eyes