Gallery Exhibiton 11th May – 1st June 2013
Suspense brings together, for the first time, the work of four distinguished artists with both national and international reputations, Simon Finn, Dean Randazzo, Ruth Simons and Jayne Wilton. For Finn and Randazzo this will be the UK première of their work. The suspension of time, space and physical mass and the recording of ‘frozen moments’ are recurrent themes in the work of all these artists. Each, in their own way, explores and records matter in motion and changing material states, in media which include drawing, sculpture, photography and animation.
Regardless of the apparent diversity of their practices, George Mogg, curator of Suspense and the Beldam Gallery at Brunel University, saw connections in the work of these artists; how they observe and record the chaos, patterns and randomness of natural, untamable forces and use their art to express and try to make sense of the complex and baffling. What she has put together is a show of contrasts and connections, the macro and the micro, cutting-edge technology alongside traditional art processes, where meticulous craftsmanship meets reckless or organic action to retell a story of transformation and disruption. Despite these polarities, Suspense promises to be an exhibition of remarkable coherence.
Through complex digital modelling, rendering and physics computation, Simon Finn freezes single moments in time before extrapolating them to intricate charcoal drawings, signed, limited edition prints of which will be exhibited as part of Suspense. These constructed moments of destruction combine meaning, process and form, as seen in recent subject matter which include a pier mid-collapse, a tsunami at point of impact and an unfurling black flag. The subject matter and its treatment tease out the duality between the tangible and the simulated, raising questions concerning aesthetics in an image-saturated world.
Dean Randazzo’s work explores the human, cultural and emotional relationships of the photographic act through holographic reliquaries, projections of images into dust, insect swarms and vapour.
House is one of a series of images created from time exposures of dust clouds lit up with projections of old family photographs. A family member made the picture of their house with figures standing in front; the act of making that image implies a doubt as to its permanence and it seems photography is our futile attempt at arresting this change and uncertainty. The process of making House documents a ritual; the dust acts as an ephemeral screen, making the image visible and releasing it back to where it came.
In Family Portrait, individual faces rise on the eddies and currents of air and dust creating the separate shafts of light. Randazzo says that making this photograph was a ritual of sorts; returning the original image back to light.
Ruth Simons’ practice examines the universe at both macro and micro levels, exploring chaos as the boundary between pattern and randomness. These emerging themes are investigated through drawing, print, bookworks and installation. Her drawings and installations explore the simultaneous simplicity and complexity of the universe and apparent randomness that belies the self-generating and self-similar patterns concealed within the intricacy of life.
The work showing in Suspense is called Kunststoff (German for plastic) – Unnatural History and explores materiality, structure and growth patterns, generating organic forms from inorganic materials and manmade objects. Appearing to be objects from the natural world, yet made from synthetic materials, Simons’ work raises questions about our relationship with nature, touching on issues of ecology, mutation and climate change.
Jayne Wilton’s work explores universal breathing gestures such as the sigh, the laugh, spoken words and the gasp. Through it she attempts to record and make visible unseen and ephemeral processes.
The Drawing Breath series captures a trace of a human breath using dark room processes to record the breath as it is expired. The breath passes through a light source and is caught on sensitised paper. These images become evocative records of moments in time; opportunities to witness the interaction between our inner and outer landscapes. By making visible, the invisible, Drawing Breath allows an exploration of the dynamics of how we impact on our environment, both physically and emotionally.
For Wilton’s recent new work I Am Here Now, each individual black and red glass sphere is an image of a unique moment where an individual word was spoken. Using the optical Schlieren system, the words I Am Here Now were spoken in front of a mirror whilst Wilton photographically recorded the patterns of turbulence caused by warm breath in cold air.
She will also be showing Overstanding – a visual recording, translated into digital sculpture, of the word “overstanding”, spoken by the poet Benjamin Zepheniah; Zephanih fell in love with this word, feeling it overcame the shortcomings and potentially patronising limitations of the word ‘understanding’. On hearing that this piece was to be included in the exhibition, he explained to us
“‘overstanding’ transcends ‘understanding’ by incorporating the qualities of empathy, humility and compassion. It implies a sense of overview, and a wider or broader comprehension of a phenomena.”