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Something You Should See… Narratives of Arrival and Resolution, Art Space Gallery

If you’re a self-confessed perfectionist out there who swoons over clean-cut lines and shiver with satisfaction at exact tessellation, Art Space Gallery is the place for you this month. Curator Deanna Petherbridge has brought together a selection of works by four abstract artists who appear to share your passion for precision, in new exhibition Narratives of Arrival and Resolution.

First up – Belinda Cadbury and her meticulously pencilled patterns on paper. Cadbury’s work is about craft and process, rather than creativity and imagination, and each work is carefully executed, tightly finished and smudge-free. But the uneven densities of the markings within each of her carefully demarcated forms betray the personal labour that went into each of the works, without ever undermining the integrity of the design and its rhythm.

Alison Turnbull and Sarah Cawkwell both seek existing patterns in our everyday lives and, lifting them from their original contexts, isolate or re-work them to explore their aesthetic potential free of meaning. Turnbull’s interests lie in the topographical, in maps, charts and graphs. Her systematically placed dots and lines interact with the systems of her sources, and invigorate the page surface in playful and enchanting ways. Cawkwell turns to the domestic. A lot of her artistic practice comprises relatively uninteresting, middle-of-the-road charcoal renderings of dressing and undressing rituals, but Petherbridge has astutely selected only those works which dissolve the figurative into abstract patterning. Woven textiles, buttons and the folds and creases of fabric serve as departure points for lovingly rendered small-scale studies in pencil and wash.

The highlight is set to be Wendy Smith, who lacerates her dazzling white boards with inked lines which cross and merge to form intricate, interlocking patterns that shimmer and dance on the page. Smith’s drawings have a graphic quality and are so frighteningly free of imperfection it is easy to imagine them to be machine-made. Together in series Smith’s work looks like the result of hundreds of experiments in drawing, but experiments with no hypothesis, no analysis and no evaluation.

Smith’s works, as with the others shown at the gallery, are not reliant on theory. They do not purport to communicate any personal or objective reality to us but rather express the artists’ fascination with mark making itself. The crisp, clean visual clarity of the works at Art Space Gallery provide the ultimate in visual satisfaction and are not to be missed. (Words: Florence Ritter) 

Narratives of Arrival and Resolution runs 25th January – 22nd February. You can see the catalogue for the exhibition here: www.artspacegallery.co.uk/BOOKS/Narratives/pageflip.html

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