This vibrant gathering of works from thirteen emerging and mid-career artists addresses the very prescient fact that change is the only constant. Taking a quote from Ovid’s Metamorphoses as a springboard – “nothing in the entire universe ever perishes… but things vary, and adopt a new form” – the show investigates how this state of continual flux and the rethinking that ensues can be captured and articulated through the form and context of art.
The responses here come more in the form of installation, sculpture and video rather than painting or drawing, with many of the artists taking a biological stance on the subject. Sculptor David A Smith’s skeletal forms are embellished with electroluminescent wire or given a second skin of purple flock, resulting in tactile and beautifully rendered memento mori. Jan Manski’s Onania (addiction to masturbation) takes a highly visceral look into the future of human form and sexuality through imagery of bodily mutation, a installation made of material including human fat and a video advertising the futuristic pleasuring device, the Onanizer.
Meanwhile others address materiality: Alice Bradshaw has filled a Perspex cube with pencil sharpenings, showing how the artists’ tool has been reincarnated as a work of art itself; and Will Kendrick uses brightly coloured resin dribbles to form his 3D work Circle Painting.
James Drew’s Alfie/Julie is a dual monitor video that records the musings of a drag artist preparing for her show, talking sensitively about the nature of difference and acceptability in society, contrasted with her sharp tongued, sassy performance in front of an audience.
As a show, The Nature of Change achieves the tricky ideal of a varied and engaging collection of responses to a particular theme that still hang together as a cohesive exhibition and is a great place to seek out new art.
-- Laura Bushell
All images courtesy HRL Contemporary
Images:David A Smith, Banshee, 2011, Resin feline skeleton, EL Wire, black gloss finish, 46 x 60 x 20 cm; Gabo Guzzo, Eco-elegy, 2010, Snake skin waste, goat fur waste, human hair, resin, 29 x 29 x 5 cm; Jan Manski, Onania - The Onanizer Strain, 2010, Photographic print, 64 x 50 cm