Fikret Atay, Alex Bowen, Philip Ewe, Craig Fisher, janice Macaulay, Sara Mackillop, Maggie Madden, Danica Maier, Stewart Gough & Tom Ormond, Joep Overtoom.
Curated by Clare Goodwin and Liz Murray
Make, Shift and Bend brings together 11 artists whose practices dispute assumptions on the appearance and function of art objects. The title, a twist on the UK Ministry of Information's WWII pamphlet series Make Do and Mend, encapsulates a needs must approach to the job of making and sense of play with materials and ideas already in existence. The works these artists produce may suit the current recessional landscape, but the term credit crunch in this context might just as easily refer to budget breakfast cereal packaging as a global fiscal reality.
In crisis here, however, is the viewers belief as very little is as it seems. The members of this international group are each known for their ability to tamper with the perceived significance of particular objects, modes of technology and cultural mores. Appropriated consumables, materials and rituals become referential markers under which one is encouraged to limbo into other intellectual territories, often thin on bling but decidedly thick with the air of thrift.
Sara MacKillop works with overlooked elements of design: commonplace items such as envelopes and record sleeves appear to conform to the rigours of Modernist display yet essentially remain fit for original purpose. Fikret Atay films life in his native city, Batman, near the Iraq Turkey border. In Tinica, shown here, a boy plays the drums passionately with empty containers on a hill above the city only to kick these instruments away at the end like the refuse objects one initially presumes them to be. In Philip Ewe's series of photos Sex Positions for Singles reality appears to have been given a make under. Through his deadpan execution of one half of a series of sex acts on a grotty mattress Ewe aligns the dirty deed with everyday economics in an absurdly melancholic manner strangely appropriate in todays economic climate. Similarly, complex interactions between narrative and interpretation are present in the work of Alex Bowen, whose pared down video Fish Fingers reveals pathos in domestic negotiations.
There is a prop like quality to several of the works that further irritates the border between the domestic and the institutional space. At distance, Craig Fisher's blue fabric version of a fork lift palette seems more cool design object than hand stitched Pop facsimile, while the apparent propriety of Danica Maier's floral paintings breaks down at the wall where close scrutiny reveals that they have literally blossomed out of slang words for vagina. Maggie Madden's Lilliputian cityscape made from telephone cables appear to hover between mirage and architect's model. Joep Overtoom constructs imagined utopias from packing tape and paint on canvas which, despite their presumed good life escapism, suggest that there is something nasty in the woodshed. Stewart Gough & Tom Ormond are planning to re site European Vacation. The sculpture of unfolding caravan embodies freedom, liberty and the possibility of impromtu getaways.
Janice Macaulay's year long Live Well garden project will also be launched during the show. Macaulay will transform the area outside the gallery into an allotment and project headquarters for the Live Well project.
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