Sunday, January 27, 2013

Atlas for the Devil

In a world of compulsive shallowness it can be enlightening to discover the surface is being pursued with some seriousness. This exhibition links five objects: three by the tool and two by the substrate.  All of these objects provide a connection and disjunction with the support for their married surfaces.

A work by Elisabeth Vary has a glossy intoxication in its translucency but the mystery deepens with two punctures and an overt profile to the object that suggests flatness and depth at once. 

A diminutive object, paradoxically, with the most physical mass, is a murrine paperweight in flashed Murano glass, hand-ground, that when set on paper it becomes a magnifying glass that enlarges words and pictures. This TV Murrine Paperweight, by Naoto Fukasawa, for B&B Italia is the result of grinding and polishing the surface to increase its internal visual depth also bound in a fused surface that increases its immutability.  It is dense & functional while being sensuous & meaningful in its weight.

Bin Dixon-Ward has been developing jewellery using 3D printing process. This technical approach allows the creation of extremely complex forms and linkages previously unthinkable. The technology used in the form making and the objects surface and saturated colour alludes to a mechanical production but the objects are hand finished and coloured reengaging the artist’s physical touch in the surface.

Inversely the work by Rosslynd Piggott carries on its surface, the tools of its making. In the form of pearls they are the devices for its figuration or possibly disfiguration. They float on the platinum foil surface, at rest, ignoring their habit of menace. Pearls embody both mass and surface simultaneously, built from calcified layers triggered by an irritant, inspiring their existence.

More obliquely we have Wolfram Ullrich’s work. This piece is a steel construction that presses from the wall, dimensional and sculptural. It twists in space to deny the viewer the hope of orthogonal relief. Conflated, the prime face is painted, matt in finish and in a stinging citron colour that provides an edge and defines the floating form. The beguiling austerity of the surface is in league with its support, to continue to extend the reflex of this perspectival illusion.

The various frictions between face, volume, illusion and mass bring to mind Wolfgang Pauli’s rumination: “God made the bulk; surfaces were invented by the devil.” At the time, Pauli was discussing the way the atoms hover above and below the surface of a material, inferring complexity at the outer edge of materials, portraying unique visual qualities yet complete integrity with the mass. There is something deeper than the surface of his aphorism.  It could ask : What underpins us? What supports our ambition? Is the image applied or integral? Is it held or withheld?

Atlas for the Devil
Greenwood Street Project
Begins February 2013
Supervised By Donald Holt

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