With this one, I’m a bit biased. One of Richard’s sculptures is in this exhibition, and whilst I am super glad to have it out of the lounge (which it dominated), I am also stoked to see it in a gallery space.
The gallery website doesn’t have the greatest photographs of the work, but they are there if you’re too lazy to go and see the exhibition (or it’s a bit far away for you get there!) If you’re familiar with Richard’s biologic dioramas you’ll know the variation of textures and mediums he uses to conjure up alien landscapes complete with their own ‘native’ and weird plantlife. What is different about this work is the fact that it is contained within a white gallery plinth. The alien landscape is a tunnel within it; the end is out of sight. One can imagine there are small creatures down there, living in the dark, away from the glare of the gallery lights.
Bringing his strange worlds into the gallery in such a meta fashion was brave, I think. There was a risk that the viewer might not become as absorbed into the landscape by being too aware that it is unreal and constructed for an artificial space. But instead you begin to question the interiors of the other plinths in the gallery and imagine these alien worlds are filling up the walls of the gallery, all we need do is cut away the surface to find the weirdness creeping into the foundations.
Of the rest of the exhibition: it was certainly weird. The top piece for weirdness was the ceramic man contained in the viewing box (Mark Rayner.) Is it the synthetic hair glued to the ceramic? The combination of the bulbous breasts and the moustache over the wide and frightening grin? Is it the fact that he seems to be either sinking into, or rising out of, the carpet? It is the combination of all these strange elements, and the detail, down to the skirting boards and the wallpaper. We have caught him mid… something. But he’s not perturbed. He seems to be looking out at the gallery fascinated by what is there, by what has interrupted him.
Warwick Brown, the curator of the exhibition, said that he decided on the concept of the exhibition by thinking about what is new in art today. What always surprises him is what comes from the artists mind, seemingly untainted, rather than works constantly deconstructing what came before it. It’s interesting to imagine any artist being ‘untainted’ by what has come before, but really it is the artist absorbing everything and anything (like I know Richard does) and creating works which are a combination of everything whittled down to their core and interpreted through the artist’s (weird) imagination.
Downright Weird, 17 July – 3 August 2013
23a Crowhurst Street Newmarket.