A child intensely ponders his next move in a game of chess. Not puzzled, but contemplative. He could be a child prodigy or an amateur enthusiast. He is involved in a game where order and rules of engagement are everything, the distance between the pieces and their correlation decides the outcome and there is little room for accident or coincidence. This image has been with Sean Edwards through the entire curation process of the show and so, as unorthodox as it may seem, it has become the title for the exhibition, not a stand in for a title but the title itself.
On entering the gallery the ground floor appears almost empty at first glance until our eye is drawn to a small cup in the corner of the room. Untitled expands Melanie Counsell
’s recent explorations into notions of the vessel within her sculptures, films and book works. This cup has lost its traditional function as a cup for drinking from and has been sidelined into another use. Used as a paintbrush jar, the cup has collected a different interior and exterior. The water has long since evaporated and left the tidemarks of encrusted paint that spill from the inside out onto the glazed floral pattern of its exterior. This is typical of Counsell’s works that often involve physical decay or transformation, outward signs of change and process that lend the work a human presence and a feeling of mortality.
Also on the ground floor, beginning at the painted balustrade around the cellar hatch, is Electronics Is Also Decoration [mixed media installation]
by George Henry Longly
. Each face of this functional piece of gallery furniture has been treated differently by Longly, emphasising its shadows and its formal presence within the room. He sees this as a key to the seemingly defunct devices in the cellar. He has placed an overtly evocative device on the cellar floor that leads us to contemplate on its possible use while frustrating the visitor by its apparent inaction.
One floor up, Sarah Mclaren
’s drawings can be seen as one resting place in her contribution to this show. Mclaren’s practice as an artist is one that shifts as each day passes. The drawings that she has created have grown from a correspondence between artist and curator, from the ‘your move - my move’ nature of negotiation and dialogue. The letters, statements, words and objects have amounted to a substantial body of work that questions Mclaren’s role as producer. The selected drawings question use phrases that emphasise the problems of her relationship to the making and viewing of objects in context to their installation within a given space. Her relationship with dialogue was explored at the start of the exhibition with the organisation of a Rehearsed Meeting
, a project that has been ongoing in her practice. Made up partly of invited participants and regulars the meeting took place at the gallery around the triangular tabletop, which now rests with her work waiting to be put to another use.
On the top floor George Henry Longly’s sculptural forms are placed throughout. Simple interventions with everyday materials are carefully placed within the room. The simplicity and poise of these sculptural additions hint at their origins through their elaborate titles: Unfortunately; In The State Of Society As It Exists Today, We Are Not Permitted To Experiment On Human Beings; Normal Human Beings [rolled vinyl, oak and brass] and The Design Is No Longer A Solution But A Hypothesis, [black and white photocopy]
. Longly’s production of this work is driven by an intense research procedure into areas as diverse as 70s British horror films, the imperial measuring system and army training artefacts. Between his self-taught technical execution and use of found images, Longly becomes concerned with the parallels in the ways that art and gymnastics are marked according to artistic merit and technical precision.
In curating these artists together it is Edwards’ hope that the freedom of the exhibition allows new and unexpected juxtapositions to occur between each artist’s practice. The exhibition has been curated without a specific theme or agenda and has allowed the ‘selection’ process to be a fluid one. It became evident that the exhibition allowed for the opportunity for a group of artists to create and show work for a group exhibition that could evolve unrestricted. Edwards and g39 created a supportive and experimental environment where risk-taking was encouraged in the lead up to the exhibition.