Nottingham Trent University
East Midlands

Miami Slice

(Mixed Media)

Bombarding (bombastic). How very bombastic. Fantastic, in the more formal use of the word: bizarre or exotic, alluding to somewhere else; in this case a diner, nothing finer. An American diner: a no-grease, sleek diner? Or perhaps a more disparate interior, or a desperate one? An exterior, an indecent one? Three islands make up the set, the scene… they set the scene. There is one more island; it is across the way, isolated (from the other Miami Slice Islands but unfortunately not isolated enough from the surrounding works). If viewed before the main work, it offers a taste, a small slice of the slice. If viewed after, it almost becomes a symbol of it, a miniature version, including the components perhaps with less effect. The viewer is forced to navigate around the installation. New details become visible, whilst the viewer becomes less visible: placed in a subordinate position to the sculptures.

Like a stage set, it has established horizontal and vertical planes and has built an idea of another place. But a place that isn’t exactly clear; a place that hints through title and objects but is ultimately an abstract place. It is a formal place to be approached informally. It rhymes, but it ain’t no poetry: the red end of a pink column rhymes with the red-end of a plastic chicken leg. The embossed wallpaper is the backdrop for the other rhyming counterparts: the fake hamburger’s speckled sesame and the speckled tiles. The green plastic salad in the hamburger and its couplet – the green houseplant, but this seems more like doggerel, deliberate doggerel.

Is the materiality of inferiority? I think not. Perhaps the Miami Slice hot spot. (Mixed Media) carpet, tiles, plastic toys, gold chains, plants, metal, spray paint, tissue paper, and gold foil: turmoil (in good order). There has been no timorous approach to combining an mélange of colour and material: combining minimal forms with an unfettered sensibility of excess. Gold embellishments garnish the garish. Metal curls, like flakes of chocolate, or like metal… curled, balance in line, becoming extensions of the columns. These offer a change to the pace of the work; they interrupt the linearity of the columns. The columns, with their varying heights seem redolent of skyscraper architecture. Or perhaps shop pillars giving a backdrop to the other sculptural work. Or perhaps monoliths: more impersonal structures, less easy to define.

Although the work adheres to a certain aesthetic that has been cultivating over the last few years at NTU, there is nothing tired about this work. It is in the same stanza, utilizing a similar language. However, it creates its own rhymes. It would be a mistake to take this work more seriously, but in that, perhaps I’m trying to disguise my lack of critique. Maybe I’m the one with all style (no style) and no substance. But in any case I feel as though to pick the work apart would undermine it. After all, ‘it ain’t no poetry’ to be over-analysed, scrutinized. It just rhymes (shines, [is dressed to the] nines, [looks pretty] fine).

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