REVIEW by Charley Peters
House Gallery, London SE5 8QZ, 7 April - 19 April
Du.ra.tion, the latest exhibition at Camberwell’s House Gallery, brought a slice of Cork Street art chic to South London in April. Bringing together the work of four artists, du.ra.tion explored the physicality of mark making and the transience of time. Working across a range of gestural drawing processes, surface manipulation and photographic intervention, artists Beverley J. Bennett, Laura Elizabeth Davidson, Sally Jones and Susannah King, used the intimate space of the House Gallery to develop a visual dialogue between time, place and experiential art making with beguiling effect.
Although each artist in du.ra.tion employed a different making methodology, the exhibition constructed a sensitive and contemplative environment for each work to be considered in its own terms, while also celebrating a shared language of interaction between the artists and their practice. All works in du.ra.tion shared a consideration of space and time, but each artist also introduced an individual element of performativity to their work.
The repetitive marks and physical interference of the drawing surface in Beverley J. Bennett’s ‘Tomorrow is uncertain’ (2009) moved the process of drawing beyond two dimensions and into a sculptural encounter with the picture plane. The work suggested a palpable tension between the otherworldliness of the floating paper, suspended from the gallery ceiling, and the rhythmic, aggressive interruption of the surface of the piece with a series of raked and cut marks. The recurrent trace of the artist’s hand on the art work was witness to the physicality of the drawing process, as well as the lightness of touch employed by Bennett to provoke an emotional engagement with the work in the gallery space.
Laura Elizabeth Davidson also interacts with the environment, in ‘30’ (2009) charcoal marks on paper laid on the gallery floor extended to the walls of a small, cell-like space in the House Gallery. The architecture of the gallery became part of the art work, walls completing the drawing started on the paper surface placed at viewers’ feet. The interaction of practitioner, viewer and environment in Davidson’s work created an integrated visual-spatial-poetic experience, heightened by the spontaneous, exhilarating charcoal marks generated by the artist.
In her ethereal images of non-spaces, Susannah King photographs stolen moments of light and exposes them onto fine papers, producing fleeting glimpses of landscapes and their absorbed memory. ‘Shot 01 Overview watered (Concrete with light)’(2009) is a foreboding representation of a real location, but King’s intervention with the photographic negative and printing surface results in a disrupted account of reality, moving the actual into the realms of the imaginary. Past, present and future encounters with space collapse, producing a continuum of subjective experience.
Sally Jones produces images that interpret perceptions of space and time to generate new, fictitious locations. Referencing various sources from film, television and photography, Jones constructs images of fabricated spaces that exist nowhere except in our collective experiences of culture. The series of three prints Jones showed in du.ra.tion, ‘Sitting Room’, ‘Kitchen’ and ‘Bedroom’ (2009), resonated with shared memories of place and past experiences, creating an interface between the invented document and the reality of life.
Du.ra.tion neatly showcased the work of four young artists with the shared concerns of the passage of time and intervention with space. Importantly, each artist featured in the exhibition had an active relationship with their practice, producing works that involved a physical intercession with the art object and a dynamic, responsive dialogue between the practitioner and subject. The physicality of production employed by the artists resulted in du.ra.tion being a stimulating viewing experience – each work revealing an energetic relationship between concept and process. It would have been understandable for a show exploring such significant ideas to have been restricted by the relatively compact surroundings of the House Gallery, but the sensitivity to environment inherent in each exhibiting artists’ practice made du.ra.tion an accomplished and intelligent exhibition.