MAKING ART WORK

A review of Making Art Work’s EDGE exhibition

This is a reiew of EDGE by a reviewer who wishes to remain anonymous.

Details: Below 65 Gallery 2-30th September 2015

MAKING ART WORK is a Maidstone-based art community with around 50 members. Most are arts graduates, some with a track record of exhibiting internationally and others in London galleries

Maidstone’s contemporary art scene is currently developing. The town is home to well-known artists Ralph Steadman and Graham Clark, the former having a major retrospective at the Bentlif Gallery in 2014 and the latter lending his name to the Hazlitt Art Centre’s Gallery.

MAKING ART WORK aims to produce an annual local exhibition. In 2014 the group exhibited at the Bentlif Gallery in Maidstone on the theme of ‘Response’.  Another exhibition, in the same venue, is planned for 2016 on ‘Time’.

This year’s theme, hosted by Gilbert and Clark at Below 65, is the concept of the ‘Edge’. As reflected in the varied works on display the key idea is of imminent transition between one state and another. The idea has been expressed variously in different forms and styles but three works in particular have captured the sense of this interface.

Distortion by Paula Trower presents a knife in the water. The piece comprises a stainless steel knife resting at an angle in a glass half filled with water. This may be an oblique reference to Polanski’s 1960’s film of the same name.  In one interpretation the work can be taken as a metaphor for the continuous interface with the manufactured steel of the knife reflecting the rational conscious and the water the great ocean of the unconscious.

Elizabeth Burman Smith’s Cutting Edges Collage Series offers a collage series mixing photographic images and stills. Intentions aside, these works seem to play on the idea of interfacing and so parallel universes allowing images to be repeated ad infinitum. And by taking the concept a stage further the collages can become a meditation on life and death- those in the collages now almost certainly dead but somehow living on.

Earmarked for Demolition 3 & 4 Preston Hall Colony by Jenny Fairweather documents, by a series of interior photographs, condemned cottages prior to being demolished. With the play of light and dark the thought that comes to mind is the all too human theme of change, decay, regret and eventual loss, especially as these cottages now no longer exist. Thus for the cottages read children leaving home, parents and grandparents dying and the loss of friends

As represented by the three works selected for review, which had specific appeal to me, MAKING ART WORK has been able to produce an exhibition that simultaneously tantalises, intrigues and provokes.

More information about the show

Work left to right: Paula Trower, ‘Distortion’ / Elizabeth Burman-Smith, ‘Cutting Edges’ collage series / Chris F. Clark, ‘Edging Forward One’ / Clara Castner, ‘Untitled’ / Toulie and Angela Carol Stocker, ‘The First Step’ / Sue Batt, ‘They Paved Paradise’ / Julia Groves, ‘The Edge of the Path’ / Sonia Elizabeth Barrett (foregound), ‘Felt Slippers for Migrants “Citizens” on the Edge’

 

Work, left to right: Jenny Fairweather, ‘Earmarked for Demolition 3 & 4′, Preston Hall Colony, May 2015 / Karen Crosby, one image from series, ‘Dreamscape’ / Veronica Tonge (foreground), ‘Debris’