Many thanks to arts writer Naomi Riddle for her piece on our 06.07.16 exhibition. Photos by Steve McLaren.
Walking through the narrow corridor at the entrance to Home@735 Gallery, you come across two of Mick Turner’s paintings – Sitting Woman #1 (2015) and Reclining Woman #1 (2015). There’s a vibrancy and heaviness in the brushstrokes, but also a haziness, a smudginess to the interior setting. It’s a heady scene, seductive in its blurry outlines, in the placement of the women’s hands and the curve of a shoulder. Both women are ensconced in an array of colours, but their faces are indistinct, hiding in shadow: they do not meet our gaze but instead have turned inward, immersed in their own thoughts.
The July exhibition at Home@735 Gallery features the work of Mick Turner, Shiling Wu, Tai Snaith, Zac Svendsen and Joe Wilson. Whilst there is no specific theme per se, there is a concern with the internal, with what goes on inside our own heads – the voices that reveal our unconscious anxieties and desires. These often come to us in fragments, half obscured, and across all the works there is a preoccupation with partial rather than whole forms.
Shiling Wu’s ceramic works are housed within a glass cabinet in the main downstairs gallery, with the cabinet acting as a partition between you and the work. It is this containment that serves to enhance the visceral quality of Stacking Chord (2015) – a globulous and amorphous metallic mass that is almost geological, like a solidified heap of cooled lava and magma. And just as lava is at once both menacing, seductive and alien, so too is Wu’s unnamed shape.
Situated alongside Wu’s sculptures is Tai Snaith’s collection of ceramics and paintings from ‘The Others’ series. Here Snaith has paired together both mediums in order to explore the inner dialogue of an anonymous woman. Like the figures in Turner’s paintings, Snaith’s woman appears to us somewhat veiled: we are given portraits of a ghostly and almost transparent figure, whose face is sombre in The Others (her thoughts were light and dark in equal measures) (2016), then joyful in The Others (her thought in circles about immaterial labour) (2016) and filled with horror in Masks of Shame (2016).
For Snaith, fragments of ceramics are like words, and the sculptural assemblages complementing each portrait are abstract representations of broken thoughts. There is something spectral about these works in their lightness of touch; they suggest the intimation of a figure rather than a concrete person. And Snaith’s use of pastel watercolours enhances this sense of fluidity, ‘her’ presence dripping down the painting and reaching into the room.
Zac Svendsen’s screen installation I will try to listen (2016) is the obverse of Snaith’s delicate work, and yet it is also concerned with our everyday anxieties, with the firing motor neurons in the brain. Svenden’s equally playful and disturbing characters cavort across the screen as a frenetic voiceover ticks away. Here we are exposed to an internal world – our raging fears, hopes, sinister jealousies and wants are rendered in a surreal performance that is Lynchian in its violent comedy.
Indeed as you move upstairs, Turner’s sculptural works, particularly those from the series’ ‘Burning Woman’ and ‘Woman with Moth’, also move into uncanny territory. Similarly to Svendsen’s dislocating facial close-ups, Turner’s over-sized moths and a kneeling woman surrounded by flames seem to be the stuff of nightmares and half forgotten dreams.
Joe Wilson’s paintings, with their more muted colour palette, balance out Turner’s raucous pieces. Wilson is concerned with abstract shards, fragments that are not immediately recognisable, and how we try to make sense of such patterns. When looking at Partial Night View (2015) or Landscape Imperative (2016), it is difficult for your eye not to seek out or imprint a recognisable landscape, perpetually deciding which block of colour is representative of land and sky.
Yet it is the space of Home@735 itself, the compact corridors and rooms, which brings out this sense of fragmentation, of shards and chinks rather than a complete and definable whole. The domestic space teases out such aspects that might easily go unnoticed in a more typical white cube setting, the home always being the unstable site where public and private merge, where flickering thoughts, interior worlds and unconscious drives are permitted to come to the fore.