ALISN at the Sluice Art Fair

Last weekend, the Sluice Art Fair exhibited works from different organisations, including ALISN –

Bad Seed I by Michael Petry

who, in the past, has consistently supported artists with many wide-ranging perspectives. 

Rather than fit art in neat little categories, ALISN– run by artists Iavor Lubomirov and Jordan Dalladay-Simpson  – have confirmed a more abstract and eclectic vision.

ALISN’s part in the Sluice Art Fair evidenced once again a mix of genre by exhibiting artists, who are unafraid to mix the abstract with something tangible and solid.  These artists have successfully combined strong ideals with mixed media, vulnerability with strength, which ultimately results in a lesson of contrasts.

The work by Michael Petry, an artist in residence at the Soane Museum, is entitled Bad Seed 1.  Much can be derived from its’ name, but even more from observing the contours and shape of the piece.

A result of glassblowing, the object is amorphous and almost translucent.  It seemingly hangs off of the edge of a black leather bench chair as if disturbing a room that would otherwise be traditionally ideal.  The glass object does not interfere with the aesthetic quality of the bench, but simply disturbs the atmosphere.

The Fold; Collapsibles, and Their Reductive Space by William Angus-Hughes

Still, what is most appealing about Petry’s work is the organic quality.

Like the melting objects in Dali’s The Persistence of Memory, Petry’s object seems to be doing something.  Its’ shape is determined by the bench it is leaning upon.  Its’ whitish, cloudy colour speaks loudly of something ectoplasmic, something that has a life within.

In looking at the work of Dahlia Westmoreland, there’s no doubt that the artist understands the aspects of Expressionism.

The meaning that is conveyed in her moleskin sketchbook entitled August, evokes emotion and contemplation.

Westmoreland’s use of texture is also interesting; along with the written words around the painted or drawn figures and objects, they remind viewers that the creation of artistic works depends greatly upon the artist’s thought process.

Marq Kearey used gouache, paper and board to create Painting in the Shape of Poland, a piece that seems to have

Painting in the Shape Of Poland by Marq Kearey

multiple meanings.  There are two holes cut out of the board, one of them where the city of Warsaw would be.  The connotations are undoubtedly political, however, viewers are also compelled to notice some of the simple messages of Kearey’s piece.

The missing hole causes the piece to resemble an artist’s palette; therefore, the meaning, after all, is that the work is both art as well as a tool that the artist is using to convey a message.

If the works of Mark Rothko’s late period has taught the art world anything, it is the power and meaning that can be conveyed through windows.  This aspect of art is reiterated in The Fold; Collapsibles, and Their Reductive Space by William Angus-Hughes.

Using window and picture frames attached by hinges, Angus-Hughes creates perceived new spaces.  Yet, the structure takes up physical space of varying degrees depending on the angle in which each part is folded.

Blind by Bella Easton

Bella Easton’s Blind has a surreal quality that proves to be both separate and whole in the continuing geometry of squared patterns.  Copper plated etchings printed on graphite and paper, “Blind” depicts a seemingly gothic design.

Yet, there is also beauty and tranquility in the light that surrounds the darkness.  While the spiny design that resembles the branches of a tree speaks of knowledge and eternity, the smaller details suggest everyday life.

Further works in the ALISN portion of the exhibition were equally compelling, featuring artists Matt Blackler,  Brian Hodgson,  John Gibbons,  Mandy Hudson and Denise Hickey.

For more information about the Sluice Art Fair, visit www.sluiceartfair.com

Off the Clock: From Assistant to Artist

Saturday night, ALISN – an artist-led organisation – presented ‘Off the Clock’, an exhibition featuring artists, who have assisted other well-known artists.

An upclose shot of "Quercus Condido Pt. I-III" by Matt Blackler

The works in ‘Off the Clock’ included paintings, illustrations and sculptures.

Yet, the main focus of the exhibition seemed to be the artist’s assistant, a role typically obscured by the fame of the main artist.

‘Off the Clock’ takes notice of the lack of recognition of artist’s assistants.  In fact, it is done rather well – in part – by a display of emails framed in wood, of responses from major artists.

ALISN reached out to artists whose former or current assistants were asked to exhibit works in ‘Off the Clock’.

Some of the emails actually praised the assistant.  There was, for example, a direct quote from Sir Anthony Caro lauding Gary Doherty for his ten years of assistance.

Other artists, however, responded via employees of the gallery or organisation in which they worked.

The Exhibition

Many of the pieces in ‘Off the Clock’ relayed a common theme of desolation.

Benjamin Deakin, who assists winner of the 2002 Turner Prize, Keith Tyson, created an illustration of a jagged hole in the ground.

By looking closely, one can just see the faded stencilled words that read ‘DEAD ARTIST’.  The drawing depicts an open grave, and ghostly figures seem to dance in and out of the detailed illustration.

A section of "FP 12:16" by Gary Doherty

Gary Doherty’s large drawing depicts a loan woman looking over a city that she seems very much disconnected from.

However, the second image of her in the illustration that appears at the end of a tunnel-like hole indicates that she is somehow watching herself rather than the city.

Reuben Negron’s painting was of a half naked woman alone in a room.  His use of watercolours and gouache were interesting, giving the painting a graphic novel feel.  The images come to life, creating a certain measure of intensity within the loan figure as she pleases herself in bed.

Yet, perhaps the most obvious feeling of desolation was the painting by Allison Edge, who assisted artist Jeff Koons.

Part of her Magic Forest series, Camp Thunderbird, oil on canvas, depicted a campground scene with several tire swings hanging off of a rope.

"Camp Thunderbird" by Allison Edge

Edge’s painting has a magical and eerie feeling, and one is compelled to ask why no children or people inhabit it at all.

Yet, the pieces, which depicted certain ghostly characteristics, were offset by some equally interesting sculptures.

Daryl Brown’s Mother and Cat was a sort of Escher-esque sculpture of wood.

With Brown’s recent Judo Series in mind, it is interesting to see how the artist continues to play with gravity.

The sculpture, though seemingly heavy on the top is held up by a single metal pedestal, which disappears into the bottom of the piece.

Brown has assisted artist Gereon Krebber, who won the Jerwood Sculpture Prize in 2003.

Another sculpture, which evokes discussion, is Alison Gill’s Stray Object. A model of a tiny brown bird with a broken wing is in the centre of a large cube.

At first, one may think of a bird within a cage, except that the large box-like cube has holes carved in varying sizes, allowing the bird to escape once he is mended.

One side of "Stray Object" by Alison Gill

Gill’s approach asks viewers to contemplate the bird’s circumstance and the bird’s fate.

Gill has assisted YBA member Gavin Turk, who, in a strange turn of events, will assist her on a sculpture in one of the upcoming exhibitions.

Matt Blackler’s work with wood seems to speak loudly of nature.  The round wooden pieces, at first look, seem like slices of a tree – something a lumberjack would produce.

A closer look reveals that the wood has been manipulated in such a way that perhaps alludes to one of its former states.

Blackler, who assists Gordon Cheung, often works with wood, creating sculptures that require a great deal of physical work.

Other artists whose work will be shown in ‘Off the Clock’ are Rachel Beach who has assisted Roxy Paine, Jason Bryant who has assisted Kehinde Wiley, Sy Hackney who has assisted Eamon Everall and Jenny Morgan who has assisted Marilyn Minter.

The ‘Off the Clock’ series, sponsored also by Like the Spice, will continue in both London and New York as follows:

9 to 17 October, The Magnificent Basement Gallery, 128 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3AP

14 October to 14 November, 92Y Tribeca Art Gallery, 200 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10013

4 November to 6 December, Like The Spice Gallery, 224 Roebling Street. Brooklyn, NY 11211

4 to 17 November, Mile End Art Pavilion, Mile End Park, Grove Road, London, E3 4QY