‘Blurred Boundaries’ explores decisive moments when the traditional boundaries of fiction/non-fiction,truth and falsehood Blur’ This quotation from the blurb of Bill Nichols’ book ‘Blurred Boundaries; Questions of Meaning in contemporary Culture’(Indiana University Press 1995) sets the context for ‘An exhibition by Maidstone based Arts Cooperative ‘Making Art Work’, ‘Blurred Boundaries’ will consider and investigate how the blurring of boundaries can be viewed from a multi-dimensional position and how these considerations can be expressed through contemporary and critical visual art practise.’
Boundaries and borders, beginnings and endings, edges and limits. All are temporary, impermanent artefacts – now this and not that, this for the time being, self and other, inside and out, dualistc, yes and no, physical and psychological, geographical, metaphorical, descriptive, definitive, imbued with ambiguities.
The works in this show run the gamut of boundaries. Blurred? The blurred boundary is a matter of interest to different perspectives, an instrument of deceit as much as it might be a prerequisite for investigation, a grey area. And given the boundary as a social artefact, boundaries come with a point of view, take a stand. Matters of taste, value, judgement, and their consequent behavioural expressions, are reproduced over time through interlocking and overlapping boundaries of social class, race, gender, sexuality. Maintained explicitly through laws and rules and implicitly through relationships, such boundaries as lived are recognised and misrecognised as natural. They are insecure ideological things in need of constant attention lest they crumble or shatter. Like Martin Creed’s light switching on and off, boundaries are vulnerable at precisely the point where they are neither the one nor the other and become a tentative form through which new possibilities might flow; a hiatus in the boundary is home to the creative, opportunity to the viral, subject to the threat. Our notion of the boundary partakes of the ultimately doomed and misplaced hope that certainty is possible. Boundaries are much in the news at present.
Deborah Humm’s ‘You Look Great Today’ is a heartfelt piece speaking of mental anguish, depression. Layers of poetry printed on sheets of transparent acetate degenerate into a cacophony of words to be deciphered by the viewer. Nearby, Angela Stocker’s ‘Forgotten Corners’ sits a little forlorn on the floor in the corner, and draws our attention to places that are ‘…overlooked, underused….’, a metaphor for those spaces in our minds where we lean mental bits and pieces, offcuts of ideas and stuff that later remind the passing eye of what might have been and might still be.
Christina France’s ‘This Was Once Someone’s Life’ a multilayered copperplate etching hints at pathos, highlights the fading in what is now only half seen, just as the wallpaper peeling in Jenny Fairweather’s photograph, ’Bungalow’ appeals nostalgically to its own pinkness for a sign of hope.
There is nostalgia too, particularly for those of us of a certain age, In Elizabeth Dudley’s ‘Off The Wall’. Two girls stand smiling, innocent, outside their home perhaps somewhere in America. They stand for all that is right and wholesome, holding their dolls like the good mothers that they must become;
a nuclear brightness creates harsh contrasts in the scene and a frantically hand-drawn electrocardiograph trace alludes to…….
And does the the title of Asli Shehi’s ‘Me or You’ look sideways to ‘Me orYou?’ as its mirroring co-opts the viewer into a kind of identity crisis.
Judy Balchin’s ‘Le Chapeau Rouge’ is the polite title to a piece reflecting the expression, ‘Red hat,no drawers’, a term used to intimate a certain kind of female sexual proclivity.Now transgender, under the Chapeau, it is brought up to date. Its stark juxtaposition of sartorial omission and intimations of flesh shocks in the manner of a joke, with a frisson of tensioned excitement and its saucy red hat that is a fetishised proxy for desire. Anne Delacour (Untitled) ponders the ethical and moral issues of the slaughter of animals, and the so recent cruelties of the institutional repression of homosexuality. She argues for the individual. She argues for harmony.
In ‘Chimera’, ‘A hybrid of human, animal and fauna.’ Angela Wooi has created a sugary sharp irony in the embracing of Piercing by Pinkness, a kind of ‘pretty’ pain, a scraping reconciliation of opposites in an ongoing revolution of tastes.
Fleur Alston and Sarah Abercrombie Jones both use collage, Sarah with the physical remnants of previous pieces, Fleur digitally, their juxtaposition an indication of the flow in which language travels the borders of change, identifying and exploring common threads in technical evolution.
Shirley-Ann Galbraith’s pieces refer to Hypnogogic and Hypnopompic experiences in sleep, connecting and forming a continuum with Sue Vass’ work, ‘Trance State’ an automatic drawing produced in a kind of hypnotic state in which ‘…We become oblivious to our surroundings and outside stimuli.’
Sue Batt ’s piece ‘Hidden Barriers’ and Sharon van Diepen’s ‘Soft Sculpture’ point to different facets of the social in law and government and their physical manifestations in fences and signs.
Linda Simon documents in knitted form cycle rides taken over a year. Recorded on Strava, the information from 119 rides and 1225 miles travelled is reproduced in knitted form displayed as a spiral mounted in the rim of a wheel.
Margaret Barretts ‘Growth, 2017’ sits comfortably with itself. Made from reused rope and string collected over 20 years, it retains the gentle demeanour of something unhurried.
Ostensibly unfinished, but unequivocally complete, a length of loose blue rope tumbles lyrically, like birdsong, from its rim.
Sevenoaks Kaleidoscope until 11th November
Open Mon-Wed 9-6, Thur 9-8 Fri 9-6 Sat 9-5
Kaleidoscope Gallery Buckhurst Lane Sevenoaks TN13 1LQ
Nucleus Art Gallery Chatham 17- 28 November
Mon-Fri 9-5 Sat 10-5 Sun11-4
Nucleus Arts Centre
272 High Street
Kent ME4 4BP