This afternoon I went to the opening of the new exhibition at neo:gallery in the Market Place in Bolton. It is the first neo:graduates show they have held. They received about two hundred submissions from recent graduates (both BA and MA) from all over Britain. Thirteen made it to the final display, two of whom had two pieces.
There was some excellent work. (Yes, I know art is subjective and just ‘cos I thought some pieces were ‘a bag of 5h1t3’, as Mr Bentley would say, they must be ‘good’ as a learned curator has deemed them to be. I’ll just tell you about four I really liked.)
Top of my like list is Sharon Forrest’s Dead of Night, a charcoal drawing on canvas based on a photograph of a Royal Marine in Afghanistan. I’ve mentioned Sharon’s work before. I was puzzled as to why the lower of the two canvases seem to just be propped up against the wall. In the notes to the exhibition, though, Sharon explained that this was to add to the ‘fragility’ of the piece and its subject.
The second piece I want to mention was described to me as being ‘a successful art piece about an unsuccessful art piece’. As his final degree piece, Antonio de la Hera had wanted to hang 27,000 pound coins from the ceiling of a factory-come-art-gallery, the amount being the cost of three years’ tuition for an art degree. The video shown at neo:artists comprised shots of the empty factory space with a soundtrack of Antonio explaining the problems he encountered, such as trying to borrow £27,000 from his bank who wanted a business plan, and so on. Eventually his final degree piece never saw the light of day, but I enjoyed the piece that derived from it.
Mona Choo described her work in the notes: “‘Between Dimensions’ aims to confuse the viewer as to where the sculpture ends and its shadow begins. Exploring the idea of dimensionality, it is in one part inspired by Plato’s Analogy of the cave in ‘The Republic’ and the question regarding our perception of reality, and the other part inspired by Rudolph Steiner’s proposition that our consciousness ‘resides’ in higher dimensions. I want to draw parallels between the materiality of an object and its non-physical shadow, with that of our physical bodies and our non-physical consciousness. Each cannot exist without the other.”
I am not usually a great fan of ‘found’ objects as works of art, particularly when the artist has done little modification. Hannah Leighton-Boyce has simple hung up two wartime blackout curtains which had hung in the windows of the art room at Ackworth School in West Yorkshire. She found the curtains in a bin at the school. However the Sun had bleached the curtains in the seventy years they had been hanging, producing fascinating patterns.
East Wing 1939-2011 – Hannah Leighton-Boyce