Mrs Rick?s Cupboard
East Midlands

It could be a toy cupboard, a pantry or a wardrobe, but in fact it is a new art gallery in a corner of the studio shared by Craig Fisher and Debra Swann at Primary, Nottingham. An original feature in what was once a school classroom in this recently converted building, hosting a community of around 30 artists, this unconventional walk-in curatorial space measures just 152x126x244 cm.

The inaugural show in this space is by recent Nottingham Trent graduate and emergent artist, Bobby Sayers and consists of six sculptural pieces placed on the shelves which run around three sides of the cupboard at waist, shoulder and above head height. Twelve instagram smart-phone prints are fastened to the walls with large textured pins each painted in a colour that picks out some detail from the attached image. These digital images are all taken from the immediate vicinity of the studio, things that you wouldn’t normally “see”, because they are so familiar that they are seen all the time as part of the taken-for-granted background of getting on with studio life.

Caught in the square frame of the instagram, represented flat to the surface, with little depth of field, the images become abstractions separated from their context, the iconography of the mundane. The vibrant green plastic bottle of cleaning fluid; the stained cardboard box on a brilliant blue table; the pillar-box red studio sign against the grey wall – the colours leap out and are intensified by the shiny solid painted colours of the rough plaster-textured sculptural shapes. These remind me of the pieces from a child’s shape-sorting toy, and seem curiously at home in this space.

It takes a while to find a connection between the playful shapes of the physical sculptures and the digital images, but small black graffiti-like vinyl notations on the cupboard walls reveal clues. “Yellow dot from I” scrawled beside a yellow polo-shaped ring on the top shelf suddenly falls into place as an extrapolation from the graphics of a Wilkinson carrier bag. Another strange yellow piece turns out to be a blown-up version of the negative shape formed by the blue E of the IKEA bag strap. Then it becomes a game, working out the fit between sculpture and image and realising that there is a typographic theme running throughout the work.

There are many elements to this exhibition, which has a tardis-like quality about it. The work opens up a different way of seeing. It is a kind of side-ways looking which pulls in and draws attention to the every-day and then extracts the ready-made objects of this peripheral gaze and gives them significance and life of their own. There is a hermetic loop connecting the digital with the physical. It is both telescopic, sucking the studio surroundings into this miniature gallery, and microscopic, exploring the material that has been gathered in this way and magnifying certain elements, giving them material significance.

Artist and curator Craig Fisher is planning four eight-week shows a year in Mrs Rick’s Cupboard, including drawings, painting, performance and video, along with artists’ talks and events. It is a quirky, challenging space to work with, but if Sayer’s inaugural show Primary Colours is a sign of things to come, this is going to be a venue well worth seeking out.

Opening times: Friday 11am – 2pm or by appointment. Contact Craig Fisher

[email protected]