Review of Davies and Baxter at the Loft Space

Review of Loft Space Programme (18 March 2007 – 24 March 2007) of:
Social Commentary on Urban Space, Place Within by Rob Davies.
When the City Speaks (Performance in the Room) by Laura Baxter.
Curated by Jo Derbyshire.
Written in collaboration by Tony Knox and Lucia Andrea Sweeney.
Photographs © Tony Knox 2007 (Artist Baxter)
25 March 2007.

loftspace_ally_perform_001_.jpgThe recent exhibition in the Loft Space Programme, curated by Jo Derbyshire, were two projects that explored the concept of urban space through the artists different practices. The artists were Rob Davies (Visual Artist) and Laura Baxter (Performing Arts/Actress).

Davies presented a piece which combined live art and his practice of drawing/mark making, which he titled ‘Social Commentary on Urban Space, Place Within’. His work was developed in a live art context and site-specific. He intrinsically produced a series of studies in response to the loft space he occupied. Through the creative process of mark-making and illustration his objective was to capture the essence of the urban space, the community, demographics and socio-cultural constructs.

Baxter chose the title from the origins of ‘When the City Speaks’ by Derbyshire (2006), as a core theme to her research in the work she produced for the project. She combined her own creative insight prior to this exhibition and visited and explored the nature of environment, both inside and outside the house in the socio-urban spaces. From the onset of the title, ‘When the City Speaks’, she re-contextualised the meaning of this and to the socio-cultural objectives of the Loft Space Programme. The fundamental relationship being a place of people, lives and experience. One of memory and residue in the nature of the space. Baxter did a series of live art performances, which were ephemeral, and the end product a collection of photographs that were exhibited in the loft space. These images were combined with autobiographical references and a soundworks of a narration, both which explicate her own experiences of moving to the city and to be in the ‘Bread’ house (television sitcom from 1980-90s), where the Loft Space Programme is founded.

Both Davies and Baxter did cultural critiques of the urban space and from their investigations realised site-specific work researched and inspired from the socio-urban, cultural and historical parameters imbued at the venue. Each involved direct intervention in the production of the new work presented through their independent practices and creativity and with an element of comparative experiences of society as a whole in everyday experiences of places we inhabit.

The final work by both artists in an exhibition context of the urban space were shown in two locations of the house. Baxter’s collection of memories and narration was contained in the loft space. Davies work was placed into the front room on the first floor around the perimeter walls, where a chair and pencils remained.

Baxter’s work is an autobiographical experience of the urban space were members of the audience who viewed the art could relate and share in her encounters captured through the various media. In contrast, the images produced by Davies were more informal.

Additional art from previous exhibitions are within different parts of the house, such as the art from Nietzsche’s Urbanised Icon by Tony Knox and Gaynor Evelyn Sweeney and others. The transitions of art in the urban space of the house as each project and exhibition evolved within the programme is analogous to the transience of a living space and cognitive of a home, where lives are lived and memories made, with objects of residue and artefact shifted by time and motion.

Further information on the upcoming projects at the Loft Space, contact Jo Derbyshire (Curator of Loft Space Project) on or 07946353251. Viewing is by appointment (