- General Practice, 25 Clasketgate, Lincoln, UK
- East Midlands
General Practice [gP] is an artist-led, experimental project space in Lincoln. Driven by collaborative activity it seeks to promote exchange with wider artist-led initiatives, stimulate critical discourse and through its programme of exhibitions, events and workshops sustain an engaged visual arts culture in the city.
In this show, three of the collective’s artists, Andrew Bracey, Kate Buckley and Nick Simpson exhibit work (and ongoing work in their studios) that has evolved as a consequence of their need to adapt to new priorities, unfamiliar routines and the limitations of space and resources resulting from lockdown.
Entering General Practice is always a rich experience. A visitor is rewarded with snatched glimpses of hectic studio spaces either side of the short corridor. Today, the viewer is also greeted with the surprise aroma of fresh plaster. This welcome inadvertently performs the role of ‘threshold’. Senses are alerted and curiosity and anticipation generated.
Almost instantly, I find myself inside the project space itself and in contrast to the city outside and the visceral overload of the adjacent studios, its gentle, diffused light and seductive palette produces a strong sense of having entered an inner sanctum.
Andrew Bracey, ‘Qui Vive (The Mocking of Christ)’ (detail), Watercolour on plaster, 2020
Consisting of three works in total, my eyes are drawn first to Bracey’s floor to ceiling plaster and watercolour work. This fills the end wall of the gallery space completely. Its larger-than-life scale and grand sweeping gestural marks (necessary to plaster a wall) together with the mesmerising gestalt effect of its incidental surface, radiates an aura of otherworldliness. Adding to this, and as if laying on top of the shimmering surface, brightly coloured painted lines begin to describe an image. Although fragmented and with only the sketchiest of references included, my brain skilfully strives to complete this painting – archway, steps, one-point perspective, draped fabric, a hand, a halo…this work unquestionably points to Florence and the 15th century. Fra Angelico’s expressions of devotion are embedded in this image and process. This encounter is both familiar and mysterious.
On either side of Bracey’s work and counterpoint to it and each other, are the composite works of Buckley and Simpson.
Nick Simpson, ‘Polaroids on Shelving’, 68 polaroid photographs on 4 plywood shelves, 2020
Simpson’s work consists of four horizontal shelves each with 17 polaroid photographs meticulously propped-up to form a regimented grid-like pattern. Overall, the piece gives the impression of a lyrical study of nature: a closely observed appreciation of its beauty. With closer attention however, other forces and processes become apparent. Wilfully enigmatic images sit alongside familiar shots. Given equal significance, these quietly disrupt the well-ordered calm of the familiar park motifs and gently acknowledge the connection between the contingencies inherent in the polaroid process and in our everyday lives.
Simpson has displayed an ongoing and changing record of his time during lockdown. The familiar is viewed through his sustained watchful attention and we are reminded of lockdown’s silence and drawn-out uncertainty. Despite the absence of the figure in these photographs, the sense of human presence is palpable.
Kate Buckley, ‘Ongoing Nowhere’ (detail), Giclee print on Hahnemühle German Etching paper, oak chair slat, wool felt, 2020
Consisting of three wall-mounted assemblages using found imagery, objects and materials as well as two suspended, spherical-shaped, soft intestine-like sculptures, Buckley’s work is also very much about what is unrevealed.
The three 2-dimensional images depicting a male nude bent fully forward from the waist draw me in first. Confined by the space that they exist in, their uncomfortable and concentrated position appears enduring. Control and resistance are required for this to be maintained. Looking at these figures, I find myself holding my breath and speculating on the nature of the unknown force responsible for their conditions. I wonder if the figure is complicit in their submission or whether they have been compelled, defenceless or oblivious, by forces beyond their power.
Buckley’s images are held uneasily in place, displayed on sloping lines of shelving which are themselves insecurely propped on strips of soft material. Able to partially resist the pull of gravity the soft material lines curve and dip towards the gallery floor creating the impression that the work is slowly slipping. Implied movement and the invisible lines extending from this display mechanism bind all elements of Buckley’s piece together and connect them to the building and to the other work on show.
As with Simpson’s shelving, Buckley’s display mechanisms perform as objects operating to influence attention levels and psychophysiological responses. I am aware that the act of looking has become a process of seeing.
Each piece, independent in its uniqueness, works in synchronicity with the others. They are interconnected by the very structure and fabric of the building and unified through their softly spoken ephemerality and a reverential tenderness toward the materials, time and the processes involved in their making.
The repetitive act of paying attention, crucial to our understanding of this show and embodied in each work is also expressed in my own repeated actions of moving back and forth, looking and re-looking, in the gallery. I am connected too. What is revealed has been shaped by a shared experience which manifests as a profound sense of time and place and inextricable connections in the broadest sense.
Generated by the App ‘what3words’, the randomly generated words used as the exhibition title, ‘///corner.proof.riders’ can be used to locate the precise location of the show. Alternatively, find General Practice at: 25 Clasketgate, Lincoln LN2 1JJ
Viewing by appointment 9th October – 7th November 2020.
Visitors are also able to view other work made in lockdown and speak with the three artists about their practices in their studio spaces every Sunday that the show is open.