Line brings together the work of five artists who, working with diverse media and forms, employ the trace, the contour and the mark in gestures that are at times incidental and at others explicit.
The installations of Swiss artist Edit Oderbolz draw lines through the space of the gallery with the use of metal curtain rails trailing colourful fabric. Her work hovers between dimensions, the sculptural drapery casting painterly hues on the gallery wall. It meanwhile straddles the everyday and the ethereal: common household items fashion diaphanous forms, inducing an alternative logic.
Complementing the delicacy of Oderbolz’s installation, Georgie Hopton’s string and wool collages of cyclamen function simultaneously as both drawing and relief. Inspired by the flower’s sculptural and modernist qualities, the artist reworks their angles and curves on the paper as an embroiderer might on a piece of cloth. Influenced by her mother’s needlework, Jean Arp and children’s crafts, the work conveys form and volume through the simple juxtaposition of colour and its lack.
The effect Lewis Betts produces through his process of routering into plywood sheets and the gallery wall is likewise both graphic and sculptural. The resulting imagery of simplified, bulbous forms evokes the bodily and the machinic, the awkward and the absurd. Primitive yet canny, the sexually suggestive totems are coupled with subtly provocative colouration. These understated interventions in the gallery space appear like cave paintings of the future.
John Dougill mediates between the introspection of the horizon and the affirmation of the puncture in a series of small paintings about the sea and its pleasures and politics. These variations overlay the seascapes with brightly coloured perforations which introduce a push-and-pull between an atmospheric space and the surface. The work poignantly brings together presence and absence, appealing to the ephemeral workings of memory.
Birch in Space by Amy Stephens continues the meditative thread. The bronze sculpture cast in eight parts from the branch of a birch tree reflects the artist’s interest in the appropriation of nature. Its linear, metallic form acts as an index of the gallery space, this playful elegance typical of Stephens’s work and its inherent themes of beauty, performativity and value.
Edit Oderbolz (b. 1966, Stein am Rhein) was featured at Art Basel by Lullin + Ferrari, and has had solo exhibitions at Galerie Mark Müller, Zürich, Kunsthaus Langenthal and Kunstmuseum Basel, Museum für Gegenwartskunst. Georgie Hopton (b. 1967, North Yorkshire) has shown at New Art Centre, Wiltshire, South London Gallery and Milton Keynes Gallery. She was nominated for the Max Mara Art Prize for Women in 2007. Lewis Betts (b. 1985 Plymouth) was included in the 2011 Premiums exhibition at the Royal Academy, where he is completing his postgraduate degree. John Dougill (b. 1934, Liverpool) has had recent exhibitions at Studio 1.1, London, and North House Gallery, Manningtree. Amy Stephens (b. 1981, lives and works in London) has shown recently at IMT Gallery, London, Project Space Leeds and No Soul For Sale - A Festival of Independents at Tate Modern. She has been awarded an Artists’ Residency with the Irish Museum of Modern Art in 2011 and completed residencies at the Banff Centre, Canada in 2010, and SÍM, Iceland in 2009.