Monday, 1 July 2013

BV Open Studios - 'I am the walrus'

Crikey! Time is running out! I wanted to write a longer post on visiting BV Open Studios in Bristol which was on Friday 14th June. A bit late now if you were hoping to catch it as its only on for three days, however the gallery space inside BV Studios, Motorcade Flash Parade, has different temporary exhibitions happening on a regular basis.

If you have never been to BV Studios before I thoroughly recommend you visit, its a fantastic collection of over 18 studio spaces that host artists specialising in everything from painting, sculpture, performance, installation to sound and video art. Located in a former printing factory in the Bedminster area of Bristol. I personally enjoy visiting these studios very much as I find the people so friendly and forth-coming with wanting to talk about their work. In fact, I talked so much I forgot to take any photos (!) so this post will concentrate on the equally exciting exhibition I saw in Motorcade Flash Parade.

 The exhibition in question was titled, 'Between two tides' and featured the work of Rosie Snell and Mariele Neudecker.

"In this exhibition, painter Rosie Snell and sculptor Mariele Neudecker combine works made since a trip in May 2012, when they traveled together in the the sublime landscapes of North West Greenland.
The works in ‘Between Two Tides’ are based on the journey’s experiences and sights and look at human interference with the landscapes around Ilulissat, Uummannaq and Disko Island.
The title of the exhibition alludes to the duality of two perceptions, the gap between two realities, the contemporary and traditional, in two subjective ways. A shared experience in the same landscape is fictionalized and re-presented."

Front of BV Studios, Bristol
Rosie Snell (2012) 'Ice Floe' Oil on canvas

Mariele Neudecker 'Cook and Peary' Water, salt, fiberglass, glass
This is the kind of work that I had come to associate Neudecker with. Glass vitrines filled with mini mountainous landscapes/forests shrouded in a mist-like fog. You never forget the first time you come across one. The child in me likens them to a slightly bigger version of a snow-globe, where upon  seeing your first snow-globe one there is a sense of awe and wonder at how a tiny miniature world in this globe can also contain a snow storm. That's a much simplified version of Neudecker's work but the feeling of awe and fascination remain the same. As a result much has been written on the idea of the sublime in her work. For me, I find them enchanting and, like with the snow-globe, love the way something big can be made small but still retain (if not become greater) its power and wonder.  

Rosie Snell (2013) 'Out to dry' Pencil and watercolour on paper
Whilst Snell's work is decidedly more representational than Neudecker's I think the exhibition is richer for having the contrast between the two artists in how they present/communicate their subject. Snell's work almost provides a context and site for the work representing both the bleak emptiness of Greenland but often still sneaking in (as depicted here) traces of the people that work and live in the seemingly hostile-looking environment. In contrast to that I would say Neudecker's works are more about capturing the unseen and more 'felt' atmosphere/sensation of being in that environment.

Mariele Neudecker (2012) '54 Polaroids'
54 Polaroids on a wall shouldn't probably be this interesting, but maybe it was the colour palette that the collection of these photos portrayed or maybe it was the actual stories and narratives within the images themselves that I was engaged enough to want to photograph the photos! Maybe there is also a slight pun in the relation to the polar landscape of Greenland and the decision to use polar-roids!

Rosie Snell (2013) 'Icebound' Oil on canvas
You cannot really tell in this image but the texture and surface in places (such as the snow) in this painting are really thick and almost sculptural. A bit like icing on a cake would be a good analogy. 

Mariele Neudecker (2012/13) 'Odobenbus Rosmarus' single chanel video on monitor (size variable)

Why this is titled the Latin for walrus (I certainly didn't know that it was walrus at the time) I'm not sure I'll ever know. It may not really even matter, I think it was possibly a reference to the walruses seen during the artists' trip to Greenland? However, I'm still not sure how that translates to an image of a rippling pink  image of water on a monitor laid on the floor either, but none of that really bothers me and doesn't stop me from being mesmerised by the moving image on the screen. Are walruses, basking on the shore, in a very abstract way a bit like a mass of rippling pink?  Could it be water, most likely, but  maybe it could also be sky. Why's it pink? Is that its natural colour? I am also curious as to its positioning on the floor and looking down on it holds my attention more than if were on a wall; like some moving abstract painting there was something oddly intriguing about this piece and I am held by its mystery.

 Visit the artists websites for more:

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