Real And Imagined Architecture Explored At New Bermondsey Space Station Gallery

A  group exhibition of five artists who use architectural surfaces from real or fictional places and reconfigure and/or re-appropriate to make their own idiosyncratic superstructures is the subject of a newly curated exhibition by BEASTON projects. frac-turedsu-per-struc-tures,  now far removed from their origins, these works present something from another world, uniting past and present whilst giving clues to memory, time and place. Artists include:Selma Parlour | Bella Easton | Tim Ellis | Michael Petry | Artemis Potamianou

The language of architecture relies on logic and laws of physics; art, on the other hand, is often fueled by paradox, games, and contradiction. This exhibition explores the transformative process personal to these artist’s spatial surfaces and the similarities and dissonances that lie between them and the connecting superstructures of the gallery space in which they are being presented.

Parlour extracts iconic architecture and melds it into an abstracted space of flat geometric forms  made up of units of isolated colour. Easton takes fragments from antique wallpaper designs from her home and manipulates the flat organic images and turns them into immersive theatrically lit spaces. Petry has a different take on reconfiguring terrestrial structure +==+

Her immaculate painted surfaces uses Trompe-l’œil, (meaning to deceive the eye). They are reminiscent of Edwin Abbott Abbott’s short novella Flatland, which describes a two-dimensional world exploring the nature of dimension and space. Parlour’s painting series entitled The Sidedness of In-Out has fragments of architectural mouldings and cornicing which border a different corner of each of the three painting’s picture planes. Here she creates a compositional paradox where the viewer enters in and out of the two-dimensional surface unclear of an orientation. Each painting contains multiple angles and layers distanced by shadow that initially presents logic but this is then followed by deliberate confusion and contradiction. Suggestions of a room divided perhaps by an architectural dado rail creates the illusion of floor and wall thus giving a sense of gravity, then one’s eye is unpredictable thrown sideways into an area that prescribes ceiling or a portal to another space. One thing that is certain is these are interiors. She has refined a texture in her paint that resembles fabric and a zingy palette of colour reminiscent of silk.

The illusion of space through geometry, light, and surface is an aesthetic also shared within Easton paintings. Here she takes fragments from antique wallpaper designs from her home and manipulates the flat organic images and turns them into immersive theatrically lit spaces. Black Daisy Thicket and Delphic Flora are formed around a geometric framework of thin layers of oil on linen. The Rorschach-like result is a coming together that may look like one complete object or view but is actually a symmetrical dissection mirrored to form two halves. Here there is a systematic deliberate perfection, controlled by an interference of incongruous glitches and borrowed light to create spatial distancing.

These timeless ethereal fabrications are punctuated by a gradation of light that is overlaid with synthesized lens flare or obscured by blurred voids. A scratched, disturbed space forms giving clues and suggestions to the source. Layers of squashed oil paint and drawn marks begin to form an emerging landscape. These paintings continue Easton’s ongoing interest for chirality where grid and image combine to form symmetrical compositions. A system of geometry and layering orders repetition and mirroring in a way that establishes a connection between images of architectural spaces and the pattern of the work itself.

Easton’s paintings challenge the meaning of place, negotiating between the real and the unknown, the inside or the outside, surface or space.

Petry has a different take on reconfiguring terrestrial structure. Joshua D’s Wall is the artist’s conceptual design made from Murano glass at the Berengo Studio in Venice. The installation originally consisted of a field of 250 glass stones and was displayed at the Palm Springs Art Museum (2012). Each stone is roughly the size of a small boulder and are all unique. The field of stones spilt out across the museum floor like giant alien marbles, as if they formed a huge wall that had collapsed, echoing and symbolising the biblical creation myth of Joshua’s destruction of the innocent city and people of Jericho. The work has since continued to tour onto many museums and galleries as smaller segments of the wall. Petry’s aim is for the work to eventually be completely broken apart as each stone is sold and the whole of the wall then dissipates into the world. In this version, thirteen glass stones have been arranged in an irregular curve around a right angle of the gallery floor space. The surrounding geometric paneled window of the gallery mirrors a reflective space of the outside world in the undulating shiny surfaces of each stone and acts as a further fracturing of the surrounding superstructures and how they were originally interpreted.

In Potamianou’s series Re-view, she explores themes around the art term ‘imaginary museum’ coined by the French writer André Malraux in Le Musée imaginaire de la sculpture mondiale (1952–54). She photographs images of museums, galleries and public institutions and digitally neutralises these interiors to then set her two-dimensional collaged stage sets upon. Figures are extracted from well-known works of art and reused as Ready-mades by importing them into her backdrops.

Morning Cleaning borrows its title from the iconic photographic work by Jeff Wall. Here Potamianou revisits and replicates the same interior viewpoint of the Mies van der Rohe Foundation, Barcelona. Where Wall positions the cleaning boy in his work, Potamianou replaces it with Botero’s cleaning lady in her version. In addition, she introduces Jeff Koon’s Balloon Dog and a man from Picasso’s Pan’s Flute staring at the three graces dancing from Botticelli’s painting Primavera.

These theatrical compositions allow the view to enter a fictional world created out of multiple fragments from art history, now distilled and reconfigured into new works of art where a narrative unfolds in each and different from the intention the original creator and viewer had assigned it. Like Petry’s gem-like stones, the high glossy surface of Potamianou’s strange and curious utopian superstructures reflect the outside world, this time connecting the viewer’s consciousness, while exploring the elements that undermine these lost images and layered history from within.

In direct contrast to Potamianou’s collage method, Ellis uses found objects and reconfigures them into architectural three-dimensional collages. He sources materials for his ready-mades from his daily life and surroundings, living in contemporary urban London and visits he makes to the contrasting rural environment. Sometimes using found objects and other times abstracting from pre-existing designs he re-appropriates to give new meaning.  These found forms are distilled and reconstructed to create objects that could potentially serve or offer a purpose. His visual aesthetic exudes a curious scientific experiment; an alien memento; a surreal nonsensical game; a ritual offering; an ethereal artifact or rediscovered relic. Ellis conjures with traditional craftsmanship and contemporary art language to create a futuristic magical frisson of historic referencing and codified language systems.

Here his kinetic machine is presented central on entering the gallery space, positioned like an iconic altarpiece. The harmonious interaction between surface, object, and display only serve to heighten the totemic illusion. Here Ellis seamlessly weaves together historical fact and invention allowing an engagement with notions of symbolism, artifact, and artifice.

What is clear is that all the works on display each have an individual language that quietly communicates to each other, reciprocating meaning and an aesthetic language.

Space Station Gallery, 159 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3UX Private View: Tuesday 22 November 2016   5:30pm – 8:30pm Exhibition continues: Wednesday 23 November – Friday 16 February 201 Open Tuesday – Saturday  10am – 5pm,  Sunday 12 – 5pm


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