APT: Art in Perpetuity Trust

Currently showing at the A.P.T Gallery, Creekside is the second part of three exhibitions that taken together give a triangulated view on the experience of viewing art. Situated between Overt Exchange and Oblique Exchange, Obscured Exchange is an interesting exercise in testing how far the meaning of an artwork can be disarticulated.

There are several strategies at work here: concealment, misdirection, degradation of the image, fragmentation, to name just a few.

The more interesting works for me though were Ami Clarke’s Data Pool (II) and (III) films where she plays with the temporal ordering of words and image. If we think about the way our understanding is synthesised in time by linking a series of perceptions to form a somewhat illusory whole image, here word and image interfere with each other in a kind of ontological loop so that the identity of a thing is never fully realised.

Sam Knowles’ The Rudiments of Adam also, is a wonderful critique on the classical philosophy of Descartes. A needle piercing the plaster cast eye is a linguistic play on the pineal axis where the mind and body are supposed to interact. It is a poke in the eye, so to speak, for dualist analytic philosophy. It reminded me purposively I’m sure, of what may be an apocryphal story, about Descartes’ head and forefinger being removed when his body was interred in France. Important indicators of mind and body as they both are, the mystery is where did they go?

On the other hand the concrete embodied experience of Aristotle is challenged by the use of digital technologies in much of the work. For example, the gestural mark making of abstract expressionism is diluted of any sense of communicated selfhood by the digital process in Liz Elton’s Washed 1 Duration 1 Hour and 30 minutes.

The tactile quality of Bill Leslie’s ceramic sculptures is similarly distanced from the hand in The Allure of the Flesh and Things Being Themselves. Casting them in digital photography and film gives them a virtual reality that is then offset in The Faces of Things. Here we see the scale of the small ceramics in actual space.

Moving between media like this is perhaps meant to heighten the object’s opacity or maybe imply that it conceals more than it shows. While other works like Heather Ross’ Things to Come, where she has embedded drawing inside film and film inside drawing, there is no object as such. She gives us edges and folds that allude to nothing and conceal everything; her images just keep moving forwards in time.

Mia Taylor’s elliptical sculptures also move in and out of surfaces, twining memories that are historical but could be personal. There is a sense of place and visitation but also of gothic presence in her imagery.

I also liked Nick Bailey’s electrical circuitry and enclosure No – where a simple objection will do why say anything else? His Developing Assumptions, also,eerily anthropomorphic: just a red winking light in a small black box, sitting on top a plinth, with an on/off electrical switch. I was tempted to turn it off.

His works beg a question. Is an art object a cypher for meaning waiting to be decoded? If the answer is no, we might ask where the sense of agency can be located once deconstructive philosophy has done its work?