Double Viewing at Atkinson on Friday April 20

Well if this weather continues (unlikely) we can spend the day on the beach and the evening in the Atkinson Gallery.

letters_posterweb.jpg amy-russell-1989.jpg

‘Letters’ is curated by Craig Atkinson and previews on Friday April 20th 19-20.00.

The exhibition features work by artists from across the world who use text or writing in some form, somewhere within their work. The show includes a wide variety of work, with no one style dominating.

At the same time and in the same place there’s an exhibition of recent work by Amy Russell entitled ‘1989’

Amy Russell’s narrative, autobiographical works combine paint and mixed media with collages of mundane print materials preserved from her day to day life to create striking, evocative and personal imagery. The use of text and typography, cut from newspapers or printed with wooden type blocks, adds a strong graphical element to her compositions, though this too can be seen as a reference to her own history, and her father’s occupation as a printer.

Her figurative work has used imagery of costume-play and ‘dressing up’ to create ambiguous, sinister narratives that work as metaphors for everyday, domestic situations and power struggles within relationships, and simultaneously comment on changing notions of beauty and glamour.

Her current work, which has the collective title ‘1989’, is non-figurative with a greater use of collage. The ‘1989’ pieces are reflections on the themes of memory, nostalgia, the point between childhood and adulthood, the connections we form with particular places, and the sites where rites of passage into maturity are enacted.

These collages reconfigure the sketches and ephemera found in the artist’s own notebooks from that period (tickets from buses, gigs and the cinema, sweet wrappers, magazine clippings, scraps of paper with phone numbers) alongside maps and new elements. Paint clouds over and obscures details, foregrounding others.

These works are about the moments, the autobiographical details, that the component elements represent, but they are also about the processes whereby those memories are themselves adapted, edited and shaped into a coherent personal history.

The integration of juvenilia from the artist’s sketchbooks within collages created by her adult self also works also works to produce a reflective commentary on her own artistic development.