press release

Abstract Art is a response to a renewed plasticity in contemporary art, a re-examination of the forms and qualities of abstraction by a new generation of artists who favour visual effect over ideology. The environment of works created specifically for the exhibition space explore the possibilities now remaining for abstraction at the end of the twentieth century.

Abstract Art includes a site-specific wall piece by DJ Simpson – a drawing made using an electric router, cut directly into reflective laminated panels fitted into the architecture of the space. The marks could be expressions of deepest anguish or ecstatic optimism, but there is an emotionally non-committal quality about all the works in this show, which are literally reflected in this piece. Gary Webb presents his largest single sculpture to date, a symphony in shiny plastic. The composition is arbitrary but perfect, pointing to the formality of sixties abstract sculpture, although equally reminiscent of a giant cocktail with two large straws.

Abstract Art challenges the supremacy of art abstraction over mass produced design abstraction. Abstract artists today prefer the circles and squares on a seventies curtain fabric to Ben Nicholson. Keith Farquhar takes his abstract designs from the covers of social science textbooks of the sixties, and creates his large scale, hand made version with marker pens. Similarly, Ian Dawson uses mass produced plastic objects (themselves influenced by modernism) to form melted plastic assemblage sculptures. Plastic used to be a symbol of a brightly coloured future but the destructive, corrosive nastiness of the melting process hints at a depressing reality beneath the fresh, upbeat surface of these works.

Abstract Art presents an installation of constructed wooden sculptures by Eric Bainbridge with dental floss mimicking the Konstruktive Plastik wire and nylon sculptures of Naum Gabo. Unlike Gabo’s clean, white view of modernism, Bainbridge’s world is tawdry and unpleasant. The holes punched into Simon Bill’s new tableaux are of course abstract, but the undertone is likewise indecent and slightly sinister. Aesthetically stunning, the abstract work of these artists is resistant to the idealism of modernist abstraction.


only in german

Abstract Art

mit Eric Bainbridge, Simon Bill, Ian Dawson, Keith Farquhar, DJ Simpson, Gary Webb