Friday, February 17, 2012

Words and Visions

Needle's Eye exhibit; photo by Val PhoenixThere's been precious little Kunst on Kunstblog so far this year, but I am making up for this slow start, with three exhibits so far this week. Will leave Kusama until later, but tonight I was in Hackney for two private views, both of which were in the same complex in Regent Studios.

First up: Needle's Eye at Transition Gallery, also home to Garageland magazine. Four painters were on show, and I was at first confused, as the paintings had no labels. Who was who? This was quickly ameliorated by the accompanying fact sheet, but I also had my own private tour, courtesy of curator Ruth Solomons, who explained the links between the artists. Aside from them all having some connection with Bow Arts Trust, she explained, they have also influenced each other.

Seeing the works unlabelled side by side, I was able to work out some distinguishing features: Ben Walker works from a very dark palette, Kim Baker's work recalls the Impressionists, and Lisa McKendrick has an interest in science. Louisa Chambers's series can be read either individually or together, and I particularly liked her sci-fi lighthouse, Beams. The show opens tomorrow and runs through 11 March.

Detail from A Pigeon, a Kitchen and an Annexe: Sites of Alternative Publishing exhibit; photo by Val PhoenixThen it was upstairs to Five Years for the wordy A Pigeon, a Kitchen and an Annexe: Sites of Alternative Publishing, which was appropriate, because it was all about words turned into art. The Ladies of the Press* collective set out texts for all of the contributing publications (Annexe, Pigeon, and VerySmallKitchen) to respond to, and the result was a multi-faceted installation crammed into a tiny room, the centrepiece of which was a cardboard column, courtesy of VerySmall Kitchen.

While manoeuvring myself around the space, I bumped into several people with very nice cameras, one of whom turned out to be from Pigeon, and after Ana from Ladies of the Press* made introductions, I spoke to the Pigeon crew about their practice. Still in education, they are concerned with making their process transparent and honest. They also work both online and in hard copy, which referenced a question I had: what is the role of print in the digital age? Some of this conversation should turn up in my next Odd Girl Out podcast, but the answer seems to be: print is alive and kicking for awhile yet.The exhibit opens tomorrow and runs through 4 March.

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