54 Eastcastle St
In the main gallery, Laurence Kavanagh presents Dead Matter (mirror fire monkey)Dead Matter (mirror fire robot) 2011. Fabricated from graphite this â€˜drawing in spaceâ€™ explores the transformational qualities of fire based on depictions of flames in 15th century Buddhist low-relief sculpture. In the process of destroying objects fire also retains the power tore-animate creating a transitional state in which objects exist in temporal limbo in neither two nor three dimensions. Here Kavanagh renders this in-between state using Vector drawing techniques from the 1980's time-travel computer game 'Asteroids'.The monkey and the robot at the centre of each fire are symbols derived from the V&A collection: The Robot: Mr Machine a 1960s plastic toy from Eduardo Paolozziâ€™s â€˜Krazy Kat Archiveâ€™, and a wooden marionette dating from 1920. Combined with the use of mirroring these references serve as points at which we can project identities of ourselves: past, present and future.
Two works by Simon Mathers occupy the entry walls of the main space. Working with experimental processes and synthetic surfaces, Mathers creates paintings in which figure and ground dissolve into alchemic fusions. Whilst First tree, 2011 Matherâ€™s elegant almost calligraphic mark-making is executed in walnut juice and ink, in Not in Need of Title, 2011 deep, viscous pools of varnish and oil paint on polyester form an almost wood-like reflective quality humorously mirrored by the sunglasses immersed within the surface.
New paintings by Mary Ramsden punctuate the sidewalls of the gallery. Intimately-scaled, flat saturations of colour wrap the blunt edges of awkwardly shaped boards. All Untitled, these paintings are shown alongside three new works on canvas representative of a body of work characterized by the execution of delicate irregularites and nuances of gesture in which the gestural is stubbornly concealed by glossy blank forms.
Two drawings from a new body of work on paper by Damien Roach occupy the far end of the gallery: Concrete Symbol and You're your you, 2011 - pencil drawings of a randomly generated CAPTCHA â€“ the distorted text recognition task commonly encountered by Internet users to tell computers and humans apart.
Downstairs in the lower gallery, Roach presents Weave series (Film - version 1), 2011 a constellation of thirty-one randomly playing videos scenes set against shuffled audio tracks from sources as diverse as the Montessori Method and the list of illustrations from Don Quixtote. This didactic soundtrack combines with Roachâ€™s clearly defined, documentary-style footage: abstractions of living structures, natural and urban environments, plant structures and information systems to generate a contemplative free-play of associations. Concerned with the conditions of development and production of ideas, Weave series (Film - version 1) exists as a generative machine whoâ€™s results can never be fully grasped in a single totality. A space to allow oneself to drift where we might transcend our imaginations if only we are willing to be receptive and productive.
Cally Spoonerâ€™s Piece For A Pending Peformance, 2011 is screened in the intimacy of the galleryâ€™s kitchen space. Typically emerging from systems of research, Spoonerâ€™s practice is concerned with the anxieties and obstructions of turning theory into thought, thought into text and text into events . Commissioned by Wysing Art Centre, Cambridge as part of a research-residency at The Department of Wrong Answers research facility earlier this year, Piece For A Pending Peformance is a continuously looping monologue delivered by a travelling salesperson who has nothing to deliver except his own incessant sales-pitch which inevitably deteriorates into nervous breakdown.