Subtle shifts thoughout the functional

by vanessa and martin


Curated by Rosalind Davis, “Make_Shift” at Collyer Bristow Gallery invites the viewers to an aestheticised view of the utilitarian, where a cluster of objects and images are craftily altered in terms of their natural emphasis, direction, or focus. Such items or representations include a chair that can’t be sat on, an anonymous toy that is unfit to play with, or an ephemeral sculpture amongst other works, carefully arranged to intrude our perceptions.

“Vertical Ascension” by Andrea V Wright is a site-responsive geometrical work located in the main public gallery space. Delicately reconfigured to adapt itself to its environment, the artist pulls the corners of the structure upwards, gently extending the lines of the semi-architectural piece. Neil Fuller’s interests lie in formal aspects of the painting. His abstracted representations of objects hold no narrative between one another, and are detached from their state of being useful, profitable, or beneficial. Similarly, Michael Samuels deconstruction and reconstruction of “Wolkenkratzer 2”, a vintage chair assembled with ercol and concrete alongside other elements, plays with the domestic atmosphere incorporating a a painterly approach of making sculpture. Also interested in the domestic is Laurence Noga’s “Soft White Floating Silver”, representing found objects from his father’s garage in a constructivist manner. Peter Jones uses toys of monkeys as readymade objects that he then portrays in the form of a still-life. The artist is not interested in the historical weight of these toys but rather in their use as a maquette to represent obsessively. Moreover, Jake Clark’s saturated pieces collage elements from the artist’s studio while suggesting the figure in an inclined state, where movement clashed with stillness. Günther Herbst’s ephemeral monument moquette's are ambivalent in their dimension and materiality, referencing brutalism in a non-brutal manner. Made out of Frank Stella paper cut-out's amongst other materials, the artists affirms "using art to make art". To the contrary, Michaela Nettel’s “Model for a Crystal Geometry” is robust in materials, yet concerned in architectural elements and in maintaining a dialogue between nature and structure. Silvina Soria is also interested in form connections in her sturdy “Underground” maps made out of steel. In addition to form and structure, Helen Johannessen creates textural depth from very flat surfaces in her “Textures of Time” which encourage the viewers to come up close to her lenticular paintings, in the artist's own words "restrictions from art institutions make people afraid of touching things".

Open the doors to the prominent law firm and you are enveloped in a functional environment: from meeting rooms loaded with furniture to intimate conference areas, all objects occupying the space are placed for a particular purpose and their practically at first may seem challenging. On a second glance, we are encountered by works of 22 artists in a constant dialogue with the demanding environment that encourages us to get closer into their pieces. To get a deeper understanding of the exhibition, we spoke with ten of the artists currently exhibiting at "Make_Shift" about their current works on view.

The exhibition is on view until 13 February 2017.

Read our intimate notes when chatting to the artists below.