Monday, 15 May 2017

THE HIGH LOW SHOW




THE HIGH LOW SHOW


Bronwen Buckeridge - Susan Collis - Sara Haq - Kate MccGwire - Tom Lovelace -
Sarah Roberts - Julie Verhoeven

Curated by Paul Carey-Kent
Laure Genillard Gallery, 2 Hanway Place- near Tottenham Court Road tube
Wednesday - Saturday, 1-6pm
 6 May - 24 June 2017 

 Late opening with artists' talks: Thursday 25 May, 6pm - 8pm
  

The High Low Show is a site-responsive adventure in contrasts and connections. Each of seven artists have work upstairs and downstairs in Laure Genillard's distinctively divided space. Each artist's works will operate between registers of high and low, including altitude, viewpoint, mood, value and cultural register. Other relationships emerge across the 'total up' and 'total down', generating  many routes around a multimedia how  featuring Bronwen Buckeridge, Susan Collis, Sara Haq, Tom Lovelace,  Kate MccGwire, Sarah Roberts and Julie Verhoeven.    




              

Bronwen Buckeridge’s experience as a producer feeds into her binaural sound installations. Here she generates stimulating discrepancies between what we see and hear: upstairs, in Site Sampling, an optician tells us where to look, only to direct our gazes – in the absence of eye charts – to the street activity we might have overlooked. The other sounds, though, come from recordings of the scene by night. Downstairs, in Sounding Periscope (situation s), we hear bats – emerging from a cave, perhaps – but also the live sound outside, now captured from a point rendered confusingly high by the use of a weather balloon.




Susan Collis sets up confusions which undermine our conventional bases for ascribing value. Was that dust sheet left behind in error as the show was installed? No, the carelessly splashed paint on Any paradise can trudge here is actually scrupulously embroidered:  what seemed accidental stemmed from slow, deliberate, skilled labour.  Upstairs, the utility socket on the floor is raised up, this time physically and presentationally as well as through the attention paid to it:  the frottaged form is placed on a plinth. That, moreover, hides the original of Understudy and invests it with the value and allure of an item worthy of secretion.  


Sara Haq has known precarious times –  recently suffering periods of  ill health and homelessness – but, as the gentle self-mockery of the series title Quantum of Solace indicates, she maintains a spirited delicacy and wit.  Haq punctuates the show, building shifting perspectives of both high and low into each of her photograph, chipboard and object combinations: clouds, feathers and leaves share common space with fallen trees, roots and mud.  Being short, says Haq, it’s a nice change to have people looking up as well as down! There is, she implies, the potential to move through every problem.  Inner resourcefulness is connected to nature: there is a seed.



Kate MccGwire is known for the fantastical sculptures she makes from quantities of feathers which it’s already an achievement to source.   They come from the high place of flight, but the lichen-like growth of Host and the coiled, unsettling sensuality of Sentient are shot through with ambiguity and darkness – even though the latter affects the purity of white as it writhes inside its glass mausoleum. Perhaps it isn’t quite the descent it seems to the Vermiculus series of  life drawings created by graphite-loaded maggots crawling across a paper surface. And they crawl towards the light.




Tom Lovelace, though a photographer, does not foreground the camera here. Upstairs, what could be mistaken for a painterly riff on Rothko is actually a photogram on fabric.  Lovelace found the three sheets layered here attached to a theatre in Italy, where the presence of posters had been recorded by the sun in a multi-year ‘exposure’.   Jim, named for a similarly long-serving steelworker, combines a utilitarian air vent (which could be part of the gallery’s architecture) with an illuminated image of a parhelion* so pointing up from the industrial towards, if not transcendence, then The last Sun from Spoleto.




Sarah RobertsO Buoy - From Buoy stands the surface of a swimming pool on its side, rendering its earnest division into lanes rather futile. Downstairs we are immersed in its boxed, rolled and stacked depths, complete with invented perfume. You can treat Partial Plastic Oasis as an image, or walk in: either way form is collapsed into an anthology of surfaces.  The 'original' casino pool and spa were in Reno: their plastic landscapes carry an artificiality suited to enforced 'relaxation'. Roberts is a writer-sculptor, and her accompanying poem describes this half-screened off place as ‘flattened and formed into fifty shades of still true blues’.


Julie Verhoeven made her name in the world of fashion – sometimes looked down on by the guardians of what should count as art – and it has remained central to her ever-expanding and compellingly madcap practice.  Upstairs, Together We Are Beautiful was made for Marc Jacobs, but channels many an art trope into its stream of visual jokes.  Downstairs, one can read parodies of fashion – as well as of our attitudes to cleanliness, self-presentation, sex and consumerism - into the base humour of Now wash your hands. It was made for Verhoeven’s engagingly maximalist residency as a toilet attendant at the 2016 edition of Frieze.





* Otherwise known as a sundog, an atmospheric phenomenon that consists of a bright spot to the side of the sun due to its reflection off clouds



** Sarah Roberts' full text for 'Partial Plastic Oasis':
Walking into the lobby of a Reno-Casino-Spa-Hotel, air conditioning hit her chops from the left with a cool rasp,
she saw her legs dangling over the porcelain and under skirts.  Props. 
A potted palm flicked its hair as she leant an armful of sweat on the marble(d) reception desk.  Through the window to the courtyard she  glimpsed the swimming pool blue, universal refreshment, globally provided.
Gulp.
Poolside, A fat man belched out his belly before a breast stroke, cutting through the water like a wet Panacotta on the glide.
Low rollers off the clock were smoothed over sun loungers like pallid custard skins.
Later, she sipped a cocktail called a last word that tastes of the swill at the dentist
An overhanging plastic turtle gave her  a sense of the beady eye. 
Popping a prawn she felt pink as it slipped uneasily down her gullet, throttled through.
She washed it down with mountain water in a slippery glass.
The  pool was (in) the middle still, wrapped,
clad  in  the casino, like a center spread in glossy brochure speak.
Sealed in, made 3D, Flattened and formed into fifty shades of still true blues.
 
 



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About Me

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Southampton, Hampshire, United Kingdom
I was in my leisure time Editor at Large of Art World magazine (which ran 2007-09)and now write freelance for such as Art Monthly, The Art Newspaper and Border Crossings. I have curated five shows in London during 2013-15 with more on the way.Going back a bit my main writing background is poetry. My day job is public sector financial management.

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