Feeling a bit like the thinking man’s favourite negro ‘Don’ Hennessy Youngman, dashed around Mcr’s graduate end-of-year art show.
Now, me and art have a wierd relationship. I went to a university associated with Saatchi, YBAs and all that arty-farty BS, some of my good friends are practising professional creatives making a decent living selling images they created, manipulated and marketed. I’m all for a bit of creative joie de vie, a lickle song, a lickle dance to elevate the monotony that modern life can be.
Having read a few books, listened to my tutors, and more importantly kept my eyes open and observed the world around me; I like to make sure the art/design/culture I consume has a message – it needs to communicate something. In the real world, I have seen a great deal of talent struggle to make ends meet; the old maxim ’if it don’t make cents it don’t make sense’ ring true.
Running round a gallery is the best way to analyse its contents; if something doesn’t arrest my attention, I’ll pause give it a few moments then it’s on to the next one. Brutal but necessary to quickly sort the wheat from the chaff.
Starting with the most surreal experience, I ask you to picture the scene. I’m standing, looking at this ‘art piece’: copper pipes, dirty water and a a cup. I was struggling to read anything from this ‘piece’, until I noticed the newspaper clipping and a brief from a it’s sponsor. Ahh OK then, it must be art ‘cos it’s acknowledged by the backing of money… hmm.
There I am wondering WTF this piece was trying to say; I mean some dirty water, a tap and a cup – now if that water was whiskey the artist would be onto something. Briefly lost in my own world, I was brought back to reality (if that’s possible in an art gallery;-) by a French accented voice in my ear. I turned to se a cute girl reciting from a piece of paper; confused I ask her name: ‘Juliet’, getting my game on I reply ‘I’m Romeo’ (think I may need some fresh chat-up lines;-)… one thing lead to another – but that’s a different story. Her playful collection of definitions of reality made me reconsider my cynical stance to the surreal. Check http://about.me/julietdavis for more on her installation and performances.
Affairs of the heart aside, I was here to consume art. Ignoring the voice in my head that encourage me to chirps away in my school-boy French I returned to my mission. Man was here to see young contemporary art. Starting at basement I was taken by these pieces:
A punch bag after a stern seeing to from Brian Sewell (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Sewell)
Blobbing out on the couch; really liked this commentary on contemporary culture’s favourite activity.
In a corner of this basement I found a video installation. A bricolage of soft porn, narration from “Human Traffic” (every young ravers favourite manifesto) and a cheeky deposit of a pair of trainer and bottle of water – this was my kind of art. Maybe cos I liked the balance of shock tactics and gentle humour, but I reckon if Calum continues to produce work of this calibre, it won’t be long before he’s bossing a gallery of his own.
http://www.calumcrawford.info/ for more.
Honorable mention out to Sakara Dawson and her intriguing installation; looking like something from a minimalist take on Captain Nemo’s submarine, this was ‘High Art’ at it’s finest. I won’t try and describe her installation – cos sometimes even a thousand words can’t do justice. Just click through http://sakara-dawson-marsh.blogspot.co.uk/ to see examples of her work.
My favourite piece of art in its most traditional sense belonged to Roisin Keown. Small in statue, vast in vision this Scottish-born artist unleashed her visions of mother nature’s wrath.
‘Zeke’ – a word loaded with power (Ezekiel meaning ‘God is my Strength”) – in this case referring to the naming of tropical storms and cyclones had me awestruck. I admit to being one of those tossers who thought they’d seen it all, but observing and listening to this artist explain her work humbled me. Here was my kind of art; arresting aesthetically and with hidden depths – if there is a God, I pray for her success.
roisinkeown.wordpress.com for more.
Heading back down to basement to collect my bike; I had a brief chat with Guy. Quietly confident he talked me through his work – a meditation on tactility (touch to you and me;-). An ipad on a table loaded with CAD images of rocks sat side-by-side with paper-mache (?) mock ups of rocks – this had me wondering about the future of art in a world controlled by microchips. http://www.guybroadhurst.co.uk/ for more contemplative images.
With time running short, I had one last pap at these pieces before wheeling my self out into the real world .