Visual art exhibitions and events with a platform for critical writing
New Art Gallery, Walsall
17 June - 1 October
Reviewed by: Charlie Levine »
The space on the fourth floor of New Art Gallery Walsall where Leo Fitzmaurice's 'You Try to Tell Me but I Never Listen' is shown is home to a series of large windows with thick sills for people to sit on, giving you a 180o view over Walsall town centre, and it is often what immediately attracts visitors, as proven by my sitting in a bay for over two hours. Large families, groups of teenagers and an odd looking art student came into the space and went straight for the windows, before spending approximately thirty seconds with Fitzmaurice's work - and that was a real shame.
Fitzmaurice has created a beautiful continued landscape of Walsall within the gallery by using a selection of flyers and posters cut into long, thin, ceiling-to-floor strips. When sitting in the corner bay my eyes followed the skyline past the window frames and into the gallery, vivid blues with bright whites mimicked the sky; reds, browns and purples continued the line of buildings, while greys and blacks bled straight back into the gallery walls and floors. It was beautiful, particularly when children ran past the repetitive strips as they rippled with the breeze, emphasising the unreal horizon within the gallery drawn from the major marketers on the high street, which itself can be seen from the windows. Its subtlety is smart; and was missed (I think) by visitors, due, in part, to the unusual placing of information text on a wall found far before the exhibition.
Alongside this work, Fitzmaurice showed a series of rounded sculptures on eye-level framed plinths. These sculptures purposefully made to look like zoetropes or slide projector carousels; the images made from hundreds of flyers appear to show them in continual movement/rotation.
For me, without the interruption of the gallery specifics (the plinths were only eye height to thirty per cent of visitors as most were children - one of whom asked the invigilator "who made these?" to be told 'oh, just an artist'.) I felt the exhibition Fitzmaurice presented was visually playful. I thought the sculptures of flyers made from recognizable sources - for example, a supplement and flyers from the Yorkshire Sculpture Park - were beautiful in their comment of mass production as well as the fleeting power of advertising. Fitzmaurice proving with this show, for me, that he has a unique visual language of his own, emphasising subjects we encounter every day, making the multiple advert into something resembling the old fashioned.
Charlie Levine is Director of TROVE and programmer of Aedas Presents in Birmingham, UK. She has recently co-curated 'Some Domestic Incidents', a British painting show as part of the Prague Biennale. www.charlielevine.co.uk
More on Interface: read other reviews by Charlie Levine »
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