Sunday, 9 October 2011

Eat, Use, Destroy :) / American Bodies

This is an overview of the exhibitions Eat, Use, Destroy :) and American Bodies, both at Islington Mill, Salford in October 2011. Eat, Use, Destroy :) was a group show which I curated as part of Free For Arts Festival. It's focus was described as follows:

An exhibition looking at how we form consumer relationships with objects, images and people. But not always to negative effect. Featuring fine art as well as graphic design and documentary photography by artists from Manchester, London and Dundee.

Micah Purnell, Desire, 2011

Micah Purnell's work is independently motivated propaganda, which often attacks consumerist values. One of his posters both hung in the exhibition space and was pasted to the outside of the building (above), which is the natural habitat for his work.

Jenny Evans, In The Night I, 2011

Jenny Evans' beautiful, painstaking paintings are counterpoised to work such as Purnell's. Indistinct objects are endowed with human connotations, treading a line between respect for a fragile humanity and the objectivity of contempt. In the night 1 presents as a screwed up pair of knickers for example, which could denote any element of human physicality ranging from the fully fulfilled to the awkward or broken.

Clockwise from top left, work by Celina Teague, Robson Cezar and Josh Young.

American Bodies is an exhibition of the work of by David Wojtowycz. Ink drawings portray men posing, their apparently naked lower halves blacked out with gloss black paint. The show is very slickly curated. The usual glass doors of the gallery are replaced with wooden walling, the internal surface of which is painted gloss black. This creates a formal relationship between the whole gallery space and the paper works featuring blacked out squares.

David descibed the show to me as being about the 'death of desire'. This statement alone makes for an interesting relationship between the two shows. The subject matter draws on 70's gay pornography. The crux is that that imagery can no longer be presented in the way he fondly remembers it, due to the historical knowledge relating to the emergence of AIDS.

The show seems to be very personal, and honest about the ambivalencies felt for the imagery alluded to. The 'self-censorship' and context related issues surrounding some of the works seems to relate closely to some of my own work included in Eat, Use, Destroy :) (below). The paintings are actually photographs of genuine adverts, traced over in paint. The personal ambivalence in this case is that both the adverts' subjects are people very close to me.

Josh Young, Acrylic paint on photographs, 2011.

American Bodies is still on throughout October - see Islington Mill website below for visiting details.
Eat, Use, Destroy :) also featured work by Cully, Matthew Randle and David Shamiri.
All images - copyright of the artists.

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