25 November 2012
Richard Downes critiques the Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary Shortlist 5 + The First 4 - on exhibition at Swiss Cottage Library until 6 January 2013
The entries for the Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary are in. The Shortlist Five are Katherine Araniello, Leila Galloway, Aaron McPeake, Anne Redmond and Simon Raven.
Anne Redmond presents Curve 2012 Printing Ink on Wallpaper. Hand prints skew across a giant page telling a story of a torturous journey. They start quickly as if in a hurry to arrive somewhere before slowing down becoming more pedestrian and firm when the hand of the artist is clearly seen. Prints become more spaced out - a heavier step. They begin to drag, claw back. Toward journey's end it is as if a panic sets in. The end is in sight. Another burst will do it but the same clawing desperation is there. It must have been such a relief to arrive.
Katherine Araniello gives up Superhuman Part 2 (Paralympian Programmed and delivered). A single screen DV lasting 2.56 minutes. Katherine assumes the role of a satirised athletic android or super human. She is pumped. She is primed. Determined to talk the talk of her creation, focussed intently on the award of six medals. In close up, made up to accentuate the positive features of a hewn face, you can't help but laugh at her tyrannical tirade, especially when she ends with a list of sacrifices.
Adam McPeake's, Iceland Landscape 2007-11. (Bell Bronze 29x22.5cm), confused me. I am not sure if they have been worked at all, such is my ignorance of the form, but I accept a perceived invitation to come up and touch the etchings and manipulated colours. Looking into each bronze gives a feeling of an internalised landscape within the external source. Colours suggest a changing mood from a dark, withdrawn, barely credible life force, to golden places of the sun wherein the artist seems to cavort in cosmic meetings with angels. Or, at least this is what I see. What you may see may be very different.
Leila Galloway presents ‘What We Am 2012’ in modelling wax. What am I? How am I sequenced? Wax eggs and hands take me back to the playfulness of Katherine Araniello's video. It is a play on existence. Life is a game. It has no set of rules. I try to re-order the eggs, put them in a different sequence. Could I make better sense of it if this one was there and that one here. The design is very simple but talks of the complications within this mortal coil.
Simon Raven presents The Bookworm - a mixed media installation on a single screen. A bookworm struggles to arrive at a library. It finds a chair and surreptitiously mulches on a magazine, gorging on page after page, eating articles, consuming biographies. He seems to have a particular appetite for theatre and sport. Can it eat it all of it? This bookworm is a monster, limited by physical restriction. Pieces of magic realism and other tricks seem to be missing. The bookworm neither shits nor procreates. Perhaps that is for another episode. I endure the journey of the worm wondering why he doesn't stop to eat the detritus I would have eaten on his long, painful journey from one library to another. I am left with the feeling that someone somewhere should please make it stop.
The Short List 5 is supported by ‘The First Four’, which is a reflection on the first four residencies. This is a disappointing facet of the exhibition. I would have liked to have seem the artwork as well. What happened to it? Where is the work now? Do we continue to negate and rubbish our own history? Hopefully they are safely housed.
Now all I have to say is who was my winner. Who do I want to win? Well, I have chosen my preferred winner. I am not going to reveal it to you. But should you go to the exhibition please leave a comment on this blog and tell me who was yours.
The Shortlist 5 and First 4 exhibition is on show at Swiss Cottage Library until 6 January 2013