Sassoon Gallery (The)

Untold stories of the discarded, the overlooked and the hidden where interior worlds meet the body, the playground, the urban streets and the gallery space itself, are brought together in a show by four artists, So-Ha Au, Catherine Hughes, Andrew Humber and Kelly Ratchford at The Sassoon Gallery, a tucked away space in Peckham.

So-Ha Au's dressmaking patterns are delicately deconstructed schemas charting the skin's spatial matrix as boundary between appearance and invisibility. Her paintings present a disturbing twist as their fragility rubs against the absent fragmented body. Map like they could be ariel views of harbour jettys, their ambiguity heightening the distance between tangible and lyrical landscapes.

Bringing the theme of absent bodies to life Andrew Humber's sculpture is a compelling mechanical doll like contraption that plays with the exchange between physical objects, representational space and the viewer's perceptual field. Drawing the viewer into a participatory world where encounters with the environment are sensed, logged and displayed in a reactive loop Andrew cleverly brings together science, engineering and art revealing the divisional possibilities in sculpture. As Marina Warner has noted in Phantasmagoria it is interesting that such encounters with automata while being real and direct serve to remind the viewer of their own invisible interior world, like looking in a mirror without a reflection….creepy.

Catherine Hughes's paintings also take a second look at an elided world but this time it is at the discarded objects that litter our urban environment. Critiquing ideas of value and the once privileged status of painting in the hierarchical world of art, particularly history painting, one wonders at the history of these objects and whether precious moments like social get-togethers and childhood milestones have really been forgotten.

Kelly Ratchford's drawings also allude to an undercurrent that is not only present in the media, well perhaps more blatantly in the media, but also in the collective unconscious if one believes in such things. It also reminded me how art can negotiate tricky and uncomfortable subjects with humour and irony. Collapsing the space between childhood drawing and a sinister fascination with corruption these little drawings have a powerful punch.

A thoughtfully curated show by So-Ha Au Untold has brought together a body of work that has a lot to say about the understated boundaries that frame our experience of the everyday shown here as fragmented exchanges between painting, drawing and sculpture.