In Pride & Perseverance, artist Martyn Cross offers up a new collection of work for this, his first major solo exhibition. The Last Gallery acts as curiosity shop for the artist’s vandalised knitting patterns and also some unusual objects created especially for the show.
The world created by Cross is at first glance strangely familiar as characters indulge in private, primitive passions in a seeming attempt to escape the mindless drudgery of their lives. Yet further scrutiny reveals a murderous undercurrent in the provincial lives depicted; the extraordinary in the mundane. By defacing such wholesome images found in knitting patterns, Cross suggests an attempt to leave behind the limitations of suburbia and succumb to another, altogether more fantastic lifestyle.
The artist has also crafted a selection of strange objects in a deliberate move to imagine the type of stuff these characters might have in their possession, or may have decided to make in their spare time - voodoo offerings for an unknown god; gentle cross-stitch allegiance to a cultish sect; hobbyist activities of the damned.
The exhibition itself is partly inspired by Lost Magic Kingdoms, the much overlooked Eduardo Paolozzi show of 1985. Working with the Museum of Mankind, Paolozzi selected hundreds of items from the British Museum and showed them alongside his own work, itself stimulated by the collection. In this exhibition he suggested that everyday activities and materials from our own culture may hold entirely different and marvellous properties in another world. This in essence is the foundation stone of Pride & Perseverance.
Martyn Cross lives and works in Bristol. Recent exhibitions include Exeter Contemporary Open 2009, Exeter Phoenix; Jerwood Drawing Prize 2009, touring show; Drawing With Dolphins, Crimes Town, London (2009); Future 50, PSL, Leeds (2008); These Living Walls of Jet, Ceri Hand Gallery, Liverpool (2008). His website is www.yateheads.blogspot.com
Exhibition open Saturday – Sunday, 10 – 6pm
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