... but I stopped. Now I'm a dad, and may blog again...

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Beyond Merely Assembling, far from any sign of a neighbouring gallery, popping-up upstairs in an abandoned Co-operative office block - a entrance on the corner of streets Federation and Balloon, up the arse end of Manchester's Northern Quarter largely untroubled by Google Maps, and cars, and passing footfall - the sophomore show from Mark Devereux Projects. To respond to the phrase, the title of the show, beyond merely assembling, the task set to participating artists, who obliged with urinal dividers, glitchy electronics rendering news-feeds and the human genome, photographs of photographs of architectural detail, The Bridge on the River Kwai, and an installation scene like The Great Wave off Kanagawa constructed from found office materials.

  * This blog-post's pretentious language was brought to you 
by a poor impersonation of the language used in 
Thomas Pynchon's Mason & Dixon, which I am currently reading.

Aquarian-born sons of Gemini, Kevin & Brad Shaw, me & me, as dissimilar in temperament as they are similar in looks, did present themselves at said show, the first having arrived solo travelling by tram that did reek a pungency of sour orange, the second upon the firsts consumption of the necessary number of Aldi's lowest alcohol ale. The one or the other did talk and walk with artists, while the one or the other other did stand by darkened corners and creep up walls and look for the light. One wished only to be alone reading Pynchon's Mason & Dixon in a darkened room, and one to be supping grape and grain whilst talking at faces both familiar and foreign.

The drinker won over, imbibing artistic artefacts, many of a structural, almost-architectural influence, and conversing with creators of said, but not before a quiet moment spent sitting in a darkened office, perhaps once housing a manager of some description, but now featuring two rows of chairs and a projection onto a screen, the screen hanging down from fishing wire suspended from exposed ceiling pipes. On screen, The Other Kwai by Kit Mead, a thought on the construction of a bridge for a film, the largest cinema prop or set ever built, and its impact on the nearby people and environs. Shots of ants bustling over man-made bridges, and the in-out-in-out weave of a wicker chair in construction.

Natalie & Jack, both blessed with surnames unusual and intriguing enough to compliment their work, eponymously styling themselves as Zervou-Kerruish. A collaborative project to create a back-and-forth dialogue between photograph as object and photograph as image. A photographed ornamental cornice is printed, that image being shaped to follow the up-across-up-across pattern of stairs, which is in turn photographed and displayed in the gallery as a C-type image, Edifice/Artifact 02. In future exhibitions to see the artefacts themselves, along with the photographs, would interest me greatly.

Built like an indy pro-wrestler, and with the jolly enthusiasm of a science nerd, self-claimed artist & technologist Charles Gershom held forth with authority on DNA, binary numbers, the double-slit experiment, and circuit bending, as I listened intently and marvelled enviously at the ability to manipulate technology on the most fundamental levels. To build electronics and write code is a skill like real magic to me, with an Arduino in place of the white rabbit concealed in the top hat. His custom built electronic video LCD installation, Homo_sapiens.GRCh37.70.dna-Device, was my favourite piece of the show and would have a position of pride upon the wall of my writing room, if I had one.

Mark Houghton, lecturer resident in Wales, perpetrator of the crime of shattering my image of Stephen Fry, and dismantler and reassembler of chairs, table-tops and metallic shelving units, is a man who doesn't mind his work being touched or even stepped on by people who haven't noticed its presence. He'd been awed by the sight of a tall, curvaceous, 'sculptural' lady, standing upon the highest of heels beside his tall and curvaceous sculpture, Pointless Column. The visual similarity was striking, but in retrospect and considering the title, Pointless Column, it becomes rather insulting, an unfortunate and accidental comparison I don't imagine was meant, and only noticed at this exact moment of writing. Mark's work Divided We Stand, three ceramic urinal dividers positioned one above the other up a wall is amusing, objects familiar to half the human species, and, I assume fairly alien to the other half, when viewed from the side looks like giant Trebor Soft Mints jutting out from the wall as if flung with some force by a young Goliath.

The evening concluded with friendly discourse and a quick pint with Mark Devereux and Liz West, and then off home I went to provide my cold-stricken wife with a strong hot toddy. The evening, alas, is over, but the exhibition is not, which continues until Wednesday 20th November, with that in mind clicking the vicinity of here will present the reader with more relevant information.

One final message to the patient reader, I thank you for your indulgence as I temporarily adopt this ludicrous faux archaic turn of phrase, for I am aware it doesn't suit me and it makes me seem to all the world like a right clodpate, divvy or fuckwit of one singularly high order.

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