BLOOMBERG NEW CONTEMPORARIES, INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ARTS: NOT SO 'CONTEMPORARY' BUT VERY PLEASING WORK BY RECENT GRADUATES
Monday 28th, November, 2011, by Sarah Kent, The Arts Desk
Rather than desperately trying to attract the attention of dealers or collectors, these young artists seem to be working largely for themselves, which is just as well since, in these cash-strapped times, few people are willing to risk investing in untried talent. It's worth remembering, though, that Damien Hirstâ€™s generation emerged from college during an equally deep recession and, with no hope of being offered any exhibitions, decided to open their own galleries and set up their own shows on a shoe-string budget. Their work wasnâ€™t especially remarkable, but their vision, determination and drive were phenomenal.
The work in this show is quiet, contemplative and often very satisfying. Take Selma Parlour, for instance. Painted in
thin washes of oil on linen, Room consists of a nest of squares flanked by trapeziums to create an illusion of depth, while acknowledging the flatness of the canvas. It allows the picture to be read as a flat surface, a box, a truncated pyramid or all three. The game is as old as painting itself, but Parlourâ€™s handling is perfect. A series of extremely subtle colours â€“ mainly warm browns and soft greens plus the white of the ground â€“ have been applied with the exactitude of an illuminator decorating a manuscript. The results are as pleasing as a perfect equation and the acronym QED (quod erat demonstrandum), usually appended to the proof of a theorem, would not be inappropriate.
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