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Press Releases - Wiebke MorganA show of witty and formally elegant recent work by Peter Donaldson, Wilhelm Roseneder, Amy Smyth and Nicholas Symes, investigating ideas around labour & commerce, value & scarcity, material & representation. Everyday domestic objects are reworked, repositioned or used as construction materials to create artworks no less modest. Wearing their arte povera, minimalism and pop ancestries lightly, the pieces combine elements of masquerade, mystery and perhaps even menace in a complex web of echoes and argument, revealing a tendency in sculpture not to reveal itself.
Abject and absurd, Donaldsonâs sculptures explore the development of man and the history of the human race. In âHarvest of the Seasonsâ the artist creates a human-proportioned tower of economy-brand consumption from his stock of the âlast everâ boxes of Sainsburyâs basics Cornflakes. The characteristic humour and pathos of this simple act of preservation and display, and the withholding of the presence of the commodity behind the veil of plastic carrier-bags, transforms an index of supermarket banality into a proud totem of the ordinary.
Sculpture, or sculptural painting, is an important element of Rosenederâs practice, but this is the first opportunity for audiences in the UK to see his 3-D work or âexpansionsâ. âGoldene Erweiterungâ is an eruption of polyurethane foam, sticky tape, styropor, packing material and plastic bottles, bubbling up from an icon of housework. A discarded ironing board remains very much present, despite being absorbed into the piece as both support/plinth and part of the sculpture itself, while its flat assertion of its golden-ness tussles with our knowledge of its street-junk provenance and casual disregard for polite aesthetics.
Smythâs work âFilm Stillâ is a barely visible relief carved onto a block of unassuming found timber, the subject being a still from a pirate film seen in a book. The delicate translation from photograph to sculpture presents the viewer with a modest object carrying a trace of escapist adventure on its skin, like a thought or fossilised memory.
Art is generally seen as non-, or even anti-instrumental, an end in itself and never a means to an end. Symes' matchstick renderings of humble buildersâ yard timber, perhaps amongst the most instrumental of all commodities, playfully glue together artâs calculus of values with those of the rest of life, and develop a new approach to the aestheticisation of the everyday. Typically for Symes, the work is a celebration of formal and material qualities we might associate with minimalism, wrapped in a camouflage of artlessness, read through a narrative of the artist as obsessive hobbyist.
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