26 October - 24 November 2007
Spear: long, pointed weapon, aerodynamic in design, thrown by the human arm/hand.
Craft: to make or fashion with skill, esp. by hand, manual dexterity / A single vessel, aircraft, spacecraft.
SpearCraft showcases five young artists whose work employs elements and skills from craft. While differing in it’s aesthetic and presence, each work affords a new insight into how the handmade is being used and abused in a contemporary art context.
Sarah Bridgland is known for her pop-up assemblages of miniscule paper cut outs - comic book speech-bubbles, graphic symbols, flower watercolours all competing for our attention and switching back and forth between popular culture and the history of art. This 3 dimensional clutter of scalped paper meticulously overflows out of vessels in the form of gunned toy soldiers and matchboxes. Bridgland’s work fascinates by transforming her outsiderist obsession with the insubstantial through a mesmerising level of deft technique into objects that are extreme, ordered, detailed and intense.
Thomas Crane: In Cock and Fall. minimal modernist cubes appear to have slammed into a bark-less, charred tree trunk, spewing forth a dense wired form suggestive of a cloud, explosion, or birds plumage. Glossy red bird’s feet protrude from the bottom, facing in, exacerbating the dynamic potential of an event. Dangling from this offensive, wired form, a surreal motorized mechanism sways impotently. Suddenly our movement - chip, chip, chipping away at the base of the trunk, sets it off. Slivers of bark build at its base. Is this a cheeky nod to bygone sculptural practises? Crane weaves his poetic polemics using many and varied materials and visual signifiers, inculcating the viewer into the subsequent destruction, construction or impotence of the work.
Andy Jackson: A combination of slick and battered surfaces reside in the irregular panels of Jackson’s work. Sharp angled triangular and rectangular forms make up the pictorial space of these shaped paintings, disorientating the viewer with their lack of any conventional composition. The viewer navigates this space uneasily or pleasurably, moving between illusional and physical areas of the work. Jackson references several craft processes from the history of art, exploiting the sculptural tradition of chiselling and the language of abstraction in the form of drips and ‘Richter squeegee marks’ to achieve fragments of painterly experience.
InêsRebelo’s practice focuses on contemporary debates between art and science. Working with NASA's archives, astronomical registers, and everyday objects such as lost umbrellas, soup bowls and wallcharts from The Guardian, she addresses different ways of making sense of the world from science to absurdity. In Ten Attempts to Find the Snark, upturned white bowls are arranged on the floor. Rebelo draws on this series of white bowls in black marker pen whilst looking through a telescope pointed at the night sky - drawings that attempt to describe the Milky Way. Rebelo reinvents our familiarity with domestic objects and 'drawing as representation' by interposing our desire to visually imagine the unimaginable.
Tom Walker exploits a YouTube aesthetic, scavenging the Internet for backdrops to cut and paste footage of his baby son into. Within his films the threat of danger to the child is always hinted at but never fully realised. Walker’s films are short, funny, and worrying. He uses shots of suggested violence, which are pasted together roughly, with the anti-craft technique of the impatient amateur. A baby floats superimposed within a sky of pixels into a home video, adults speaking in the background. In another scene the baby is suspended from a rotating parachute. Gravity is wanting, the baby disappears….then reappears CRASH! in your face.