It’s just as well the visitor is thrust into the mix as I had lost my muse, couldn’t get my hands on the keyboard and the white page had been staring me back in the face for a while. I wandered through woods of Headington Hill, a part of Oxford Brookes University campus, looking to be taught something new. Previously I blogged about their new term starting, blogging makes time fly!
Fine Art students prepare their degree show and fill rooms next to working studios with art work. I am greeted by the intricate beauty of nature ‘s shapes cut out in paper by Alice Cleary. The title of this exhibition ‘Play’ is echoed throughout, Rebecca Eastment makes abstract paintings on MDF that have both warm and cold colour tones. Matthew David Smith’s objects encompass mirrors that are held underneath a skylight so the viewer is caught in the flow of light around the work and the artistic process becomes a circle. The local covered market is painted in grand scale in the foyer and a free standing bicycle wheel with letters on the rubber tyre is parked up next to the imprint the wheel would make when cycling it over a clear surface (Emma Mayoux-Andrews).
Whilst the ‘Play’ show echoes the need for contrast in life I pick out two themes of huge and fragile to follow amongst the work. The delicate detail of Hannah Pascoe’s laser cut prints show leaves that look to be falling off the stem. Sketches of ‘Quickthorn’ buds and the subtle taste of jam sourced from the Chiltern Hills of Pollyanna Morgan’s childhood are part of an exhibit that exudes security. ‘I remember my pet dinosaur’ by Elsa Trueman puts tiny details of fossils next to skulls whilst a gnarled chunk of wood in the room indicates the scale of the beasts.
Feeling rooted in the past, I sense optimism from the abstract flow of back-lit images of soft membranes, slit so a fluid oozes out. Surfaces stretch, glisten and give way in Edward Sheldrick’s work. In a similar narrative of human experience Emma Read gathers together folds of paper to create a concertina effect to makes cones (in a similar shape to lampshades). Showing incredible patience of folding, I wonder what other species could achieve such purpose.
The negative and positive spaces of living areas are revealed playfully. The coloured shelves in Anamaria Perescu’s installation are used to display objects designed in the Bauhaus era whereas Tom Plumptre shows images of empty houses focussing on gaps, where shelves may have been.
Having discovered the contrasts that resonate across this exhibition, I want to tear up the sign that reads ‘Fragile Work’ next to Matthew Girling’s ideologically solid installation. His model railway piece blows me away. A model train moves around a track adorned with wooden arches whilst a black and white film plays the image of the rickety path as seen from the front of the train. Next to this is Alexa Miller’s beautiful film of rain on water. The grey texture of the water moves naturally as the ripples move create the illusion of colour amongst the grey.
A video of a mysterious person dancing beside disco lights wearing a Chador represents how truth emerges. Sometimes the person is seen, sometimes they are out of view in Afsaneh Doroushi’s engaging work. In the same room Ioanna Cheimona captures figures emerging from darkness where the body almost twists into the shadow, looking for enlightenment.
Amongst a series of black fractured stripes (by Ishah Rayson) on white background is the iconic blank canvas. This reminds me of the need to send something, anything into the world and the meaning will follow. The reason to frame something as art for me is to start the process; if you’re not in the flow, then you haven’t let go.
The work shows that being yourself means reaching out and creating art. There is something of each of the artists in the work, literally, Zoe Maslen her own hair moulded into a the shape of her fore arm and face. Laura Moore makes a video of herself washing up in the great outdoors. Sam St Varnham brings embarrassing situations to life with slogans painted on the wall like ‘Sex is easy. Love is hard’.
As I leave the receptionist points to a moving film by the excellent sound artist Sean Wright. By now I’m good to go, everything that needed to has moved! Phew! I’ve written a blog when I thought I had a block. Better blogged than blocked!
…Next up it’s the shopping list!
Enjoy 14 of these Artists in their June exhibition at Isis Gallery London.
More posts about learning a new thing can be found here