Error 404: Exhibition not found
Review by Jess Parry
Error 404: Exhibition not found
Unable to view this exhibition in the flesh, I had no option but to write this review based upon the photos that I had seen on Instagram, via the account of one of the participating artists, Ruby Lord (@ruby_l0rd), whose works I have been following now for quite some time.
As a recent graduate of 2020 and an ex-Fine Art student from a different part of the UK, I respect and understand the struggles that this pandemic has put on many art students and emerging fine artists. However, despite the strains and struggles that this group of artists have undoubtedly been through, they have sought to bring the physical exhibition back to life in a world where everything has suddenly become digital. I believe that it is important to consider both virtual and physical exhibition spaces considering the time of the now. The virtual space provides an alternative solution but the physical space has always been more valued to an artist where the viewer and artist can gain that connection of seeing the work in the flesh. This exhibition has given me hope that artists can move forwards towards this new dimension that we creatives find ourselves in.
The artists participating in this exhibition are final year BFA students from The Glasgow School of Art: Ruby Lord, Dom Francis, Sophie Booth and Zane Drees. They have come together as an adventurous and ambitious youthful collective of artists. Their choice of exhibition venue at Crownpoint Studios in Glasgow compliments the thematic concerns of industry and modernism in the artists’ work; situated in such an architecture, the pieces capture an essence of profound rebellion and spontaneity.
I was first drawn to the exhibition through Zane Drees’ sculptural work, situated right in the centre of the room. The TV on the floor with fuzzy cables pouring from its insides provokes an image of TV pollution being pumped into the insides of this small and delicately sculpted human figure. The figure has its back facing the screen, seemingly trying its best to ignore the garbage radiating out of the TV. Although it appears to be in a state of tranquility and mindfulness, it remains trapped in its own world, and bound and restrained by the wires of the TV, we are unable to enter into this state with it.
Rather than positioning the TV on the wall, where it might be expected in a traditional sitting room, Ruby Lord’s rectangular shaped paintings replace the TV’s original function, perhaps signaling that the artists have had enough of seeing art through a screen. Lord’s Baconesque triptych compliments the exhibition space.
The lurid toxic green painting by Sophie Booth, is made as if it really is a pixelated image that has come straight out of the TV.
Dom Francis’ cardboard cut-outs have a strange sense of familiarity; their dirty, grungy quality captures that state of drunkenness found in the most odd and obscene of places. The familiarity is tinged with nostalgia too, as students reflect on the experiences that they haven’t been able to have over the past year. The fireplace reminds me of Robert Rauschenberg’s work ‘Bed’ from 1955, which creates strange juxtaposition of alienation and intimacy between Francis’ sculptures and the industrial paintings that sit at the other end of the exhibition space; apocalyptic scenes upon which Francis’ figures gaze out on. As soon as I saw the two ceramic works by Francis, they reminded me of old-fashioned 60’s cartoons like Dennis and Gnasher and definitely had that commercial ‘Pop Art’ Warhol/Lichtenstein aura.
I found them quite comical and personally I would like to drink out of that cheeky mug with its curious yet sinister and playful gaze. It’s certainly very provocative yet has that tacky pink colour on the mug’s face – possibly a nod to the sadistic racial inequality that contributed towards a large part of 60’s culture. I’m reminded of the contemporary painter Lydia Durnall, someone who might bring some worthy conversation into Francis’ work.
Sophie Booth’s titles are great and generate a dialogue between the whole content of the work. Take ‘look mum, I made it!’, for example. It is very disturbing, yet there is a strong sense of emotion that provokes all kinds of contradictory emotional responses.
In the hazy canvas below, the skeleton sits underneath the text like it has been truly buried – like there really will be no more physical shows in the future. This is deep and all in all, is a piece of work by Booth that plays with the viewers emotions. Intentionally confusing, these images play with us in the age of the meme.
Zane Drees’ ‘virtualbadboy.com’ definitely makes me visualise some sort of old-fashioned gangster street video game with poor graphics. Although I cannot hear what is playing, I love the juxtaposition of the hand sanitizer to the radio, and I think this imagery provides a strong response even remotely. A conversation is definitely generated between the objects; you want to change the track of this imaginary soundtrack but there is always a nod to the now with the hand sanitizer as a warning not to touch or you will become infected from the technology.
I seem to be always questioning exactly what it is I am looking at when it comes to this exhibition and this draws me in. The exhibition is well curated and thought provoking – rather than placing objects for the sake of filling space, each piece has been placed with strong purpose. As a viewer I am left with many questions – in that sense the exhibition remains ‘not found’.
I am excited to see where each of these artists works shall develop and lead to next. I wish them luck with their futures as young and emerging artists.
Jess Parry (b.1999) is Welsh young artist. She has won awards for her drawing and painting practice. She has recently graduated with a first-class honours degree in Fine Art and is currently working towards her first ever solo show in the summer of 2021. She is planning on studying a postgraduate in the near future.
More from Jess:
@paintingsbyparry / https://jessparryfineartist.wixsite.com/website
Zane Drees | @zanedrees / www.virtualbadboy.com
Ruby Lord | @ruby_l0rd / www.rubylordart.com
Sophie Booth | @badartbooth / www.badartbooth.com
Dom Francis | @d_o_m_f_r_a_n_c_i_s / https://domfrancis.cargo.site/