Matt Roberts Arts, 25b Vyner St, London, E2 9DG
28th June – 7th July 2012
I visited the inaugural opening of ALAS at Matt Roberts’ Gallery. This group show will become a twice yearly event on Vyner Street, happening in June and November. This is an exciting addition to the Matt Roberts Gallery annual Salon exhibitions, consisting of a mixed media show, (painting, sculpture, installation and any 2-D media) as well as the two additional salon prizes, which specialise in photography and video.
The salon shows and now ‘ALAS‘ are great platforms for contemporary artists to gain valuable exposure of the work and forge new links with other practitioners, galleries and art collectors in London. I spoke to Matt Roberts that evening about his idea behind the current show. He seems to have a real understanding and commitment in supporting artists to develop their career as successful practitioners. I really liked his idea of getting artists to work collaboratively in the gallery environment prior to the exhibition, sharing and discussing their development to make a cohesive show. An artist tends to have an isolated lifestyle, so the making of ALAS was a return to the college atmosphere, where peer assessment could be implemented to support the making process, as opposed to merely commenting on finished work. In addition, each Saturday, a talk or visit was arranged where artists would meet different organisations in the art world to gather contacts and advice.
“After five years of providing artists’ professional development support Matt Roberts has launched ALAS, as a means of sharing knowledge about ways in which artists can gain exhibition experience and exposure for their practice. The ALAS professional development residency consists of over 100 hours of lectures and one-to-one tuition from our team and guest lecturers over a five week period. Successful applicants will be asked to bring 1-2 works in progress which will be completed in our studio facilities and exhibited at the Matt Roberts Arts gallery spaces.”
Exhibiting artists are:
Catrine Bodum, David Chalkley, Hannah Futers, Caro Halford, Kirsty Harris, Karolina Magnusson-Murray, Susie Mendelsson, Hana Melley, Julia Miranda, Moorland Productions, Laurie Nouchka, Araba Ocran, Jane Oldfield, Charley Peters, Paul Stanley, Susanna Thornton, Ventiko, Jemma Watts, Sarah West
Here is a small selection of images from the group exhibition.
Black and white photo from the exhibition of Jemma Watts drawings on paper
The image above shows a photo of a film by Hannah Futers, except you can not see anything. Her film was in an enclosed space at the entrance of the gallery. In reality, the film is so delicate and faint, you can barely make out the footage of shimmering of light. I could not capture it properly to illustrate Hannah Futer’s work, but it was so interesting I wanted to mention it in more detail. A visitor was telling her friend about it, so I listened in. She had recorded the flickering colours of light, reflected on the shiny surface of a gallery floor. At first, the film was abstract and unidentifiable, then a gallery visitor’s feet cross over the reflection. It was subtle, a sublime light, a trace of something, then reality hits you. It feels like the gallery visitor is breaking the silence or the beauty of the piece. It feels destructive and intrusive, except this recording is just an unintentional by-product of an artwork. Futer’s work seems to play with the idea of authorship, capturing interest in the peripheral areas of an artwork, that the original artist has no control or claim over. Is it now hers for the taking?
An artwork by Kirsty Harris on small sanded down oak panel. The detail in phenomenal. She uses a 10x 0 brush to get some of these lines, which I never knew existed! Her oil paintings are created using traditional miniature painting techniques and show a contemporary and comical take of paintings from history. They remain faceless, so that the work refers to compositional elements as opposed to making an identifiable portrait of someone.
This is a detail from Catrine Bodum’s work. The painting was made of two parts and this photo shows just the right hand side of the artwork.
Detail from Sarah West’s painting.
I really enjoyed the exhibition and you could see that a good friendship between the artists had also been created at the opening event. The artists came from a wide range of backgrounds, ages, experiences and disciplines. The exhibition runs until the 7th July so go check it out. More info can be found here.