Beveridge, Downes and Elliot at Rod Barton Gallery, London

Contemporary and Old Art Reviews

Beveridge, Downes and Elliot at Rod Barton Gallery, London

Postby marinaek » Sat Sep 03, 2011 3:09 pm

Gabriele Beveridge, Tomas Downes, Stuart Elliot

4th August - 3rd September
Rod Barton Gallery, London

This group exhibition at Rod Barton gallery brings together the works of three quite different artists. Gabriele Beveridge presents assemblages made out of magazine pages, wood, paint and various other objects. Tomas Downes shows a series of floor sculptures consisting of images of ruptured concrete placed underneath tinted glass and on top of rectangular blocks of white concrete. Stuart’s Elliot’s paintings consist of what appear to be gestural strokes of paint on raw canvas.

A set of interesting relationships emerges between the works, some more obvious than others. The gestural surfaces of Elliot’s paintings are reflected in the images of ruptured concrete in Downes floor pieces. These images, in turn, with their rather organic texture, reflect some of the found landscape imagery used in Beveridge’s assemblages. There is also a dialogue going on in the works between actual materials and representations of materials. Downes’ sculptures combine images of concrete along with real concrete and one of Beveridge’s pieces, “Meat sliced walking,” combines a circular piece of faux granite with a round shaped rock that brings to mind actual granite. In Elliot’s paintings, the flatness of the surface makes it almost look as if the gestures are, in some way, representations of gestures.

The work of each artist is interesting in its own right but perhaps where the exhibition truly succeeds is in the way the works interact with the space. The space itself is long and narrow. Elliot’s paintings and Beveridge’s assemblages are placed on the walls and Downes’ sculptures are displayed in a row on the floor, running along the length of the gallery. There is relatively little space left for the viewer to walk. As I was looking at Elliot’s and Beveridge’s works, I kept having to pay attention so as not to stumble over Downes’ pieces that were literally a few steps behind me. This made the viewing experience rather unusual. Especially when looking at Elliot’s paintings, one’s first instinct might be to look at them and then step back to look at them again. That stepping back, though, is partly inhibited by the floor sculptures.

What the installation manages to do is make the viewer very aware of the space and, in a sense, force the viewer to look at the works very closely. This is exemplified by the placement of one of Elliot’s paintings in a very narrow passageway between the entrance of the gallery and the main exhibition area. To see the painting one has to literally stand within a few centimeters of the surface. There is no space to step back. Given this restriction, one cannot help but notice the paint, the weave of the raw canvas, how the paint has been applied and then pulled across the canvas and how the two, paint and canvas, interact. The same happens in the main area of the gallery where one’s movement is restricted by the placement of the floor sculptures. The viewer is always placed in between works. The physical closeness of the works on the floor with those on the walls actually makes the viewer very aware of this in-between placement. Ultimately, this in-betweeness of the installation reflects the works themselves, which are found in-between materials and representations and in-between interpretations.
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