FUTURE PRESENT: COLLAPSE @ ARTHOUSE1

EXHIBITION 

In any interaction with art, there exists an artist’s intention, a viewer’s reaction and perception to this intention, and the psychological nexus created by this connection, producing a third state of being-the best art remains averse to the static and fixed, and will ease itself into multivalence, absorbing and channeling each individual interpretation. The work of both artists represented in this show devoted to the theme of collapse (and potential for rebirth-or at least temporary reorganisation) are sterling examples of this ethos, at first seemingly one thing, but upon close inspection of detail and form, quite another. Kate Palmer’s intricate canvas landscapes may initially appear as aerial studies of complex rail network systems, squalls of white noise, or medical spreadsheets of brainwave patterns, but are in fact founded in the narrative geometry of tracks (each a personal tale of both free will and structured control) left behind in Alpine environments (Palmer is a snowboarding enthusiast, and it’s not a great leap to see how this immediately informs the work). A visceral energy surges across the canvas, seductive layers draw you deep into the frame, definition teases then coyly rescinds, lines intersect, break apart, drop suddenly, twirl and spiral, obscure dramatic stories of turmoil and mania suggested, voices embedded. Like looking directly into a blindingly white expanse of snow, both an absence and depth occur at once, soft surface with possible hidden peril. A table in the side room allows a visitor to intimately leaf through pages and pages of Palmer’s sketches, several chapters in her process, on parchment paper so ethereal to the touch it’s easy to imagine it could have been produced using snow powder as base material. David MacDiarmid’s sculptural creations, cheeky and playful and animated, gambol about the space amidst Palmer’s (mostly) mounted work with conceptual synergy. Two’s Company, a table duet, fools with perception from first look, as the piece that you assume looks the most vulnerable and delicate (spindly, haphazard legs, soft wood) is actually quite a deal stronger than its partner, which appears fuller, denser, more solid, but upon touch is of weaker, less substantial material, and the bed of which is without base, all assumptions blasted. MacDiarmid is consistent in this process, tricking sight with material-paper pulp and wood mimicking concrete in the aqueduct creation Flow, polystyrene mimicking marble in Duck and Cover-reforming and recalibrating possibility. Bent Over, frivolously positioned just at the edge of a mantelpiece, is a kittenish bondage homage, its  elegant brass body a demure curl that could turn lethal should its copper coil suddenly spring, a threat in waiting. Collapse and Lean To, cane-like figures bent and gnarled, in woozy posture, steady themselves against a wall, two exhausted but undefeated gallery goers determined to see it through. The two artists complement and engage one another in a dialogue regarding constant, excitable flux and instability, positioning this sensibility as perhaps existence’s most meaningful, terrifying and resonant. Collapse continues through 24 March

http://www.arthouse1.co.uk/collapse.html 

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