Mad March hares, April Fools… there is no denying that spring is a light-hearted time of year. As the snow thaws and the days lengthen, our collective mood lifts with the promise of warmer days and new beginnings. MAD MARCH HARES pays homage to the spirit of the season by gathering together a group of bright young artists for whom playfulness is integral to their practice. This spirited show, comprising screen-printed wallpaper, reworked objects, plotted charts and paintings, sees the morphing of materials and the transformation of the everyday, and begs the question; are things really as they seem?
E.A. Byrne’s formal charts look analytical enough, yet closer inspection reveals their nonsensical nature; evaluating the established linguistics of art criticism, they poke quiet fun at the mores and customs of the art world - as does her absurdist sound intervention which will both baffle and amuse. Pascal Rousson also takes on the art establishment; his irreverent humour is directed mercilessly at superhero-artists. Employing the visual language of the comic book, he deftly reduces highbrow to farce. Erik Bendix also employs cartoon imagery, significantly characters from early animation, manipulated to take the viewer to an altogether darker and more troubling place. The comic quirkiness of his painting Suckerpunch serves only to reinforce its violent undertones.
Blue Curry’s assemblages, with their combination of the banal and the exotic, have a surreal beauty, the work on display here alluding incongruously to tropical paradises – a far cry from the gutter-life depicted in Henry Hudson’s infamous parodies. The latter here shows one of his bronze plaques, a shiny metal cast of impressions on plasticine, the innate childishness of that medium sitting uncomfortably with his distinctly adult themes.
Equally disconcerting is how quickly the familiar becomes unfamiliar in Corinne Felgate’s and Lisa Slominski’s playful adaptations of everyday objects. Both artists here show works with a distinctly domestic theme, though disturbed and disrupted.
Whether the work is intrinsically funny, plain absurd, or quietly unsettling, the wry and witty outlook of these inquisitive and playful artists provides an enjoyable and thought-provoking journey through the absurdities of contemporary life.
The exhibition is kindly sponsored by The Tanning Shop