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Review: Threshold 2016 Exhibition at 24 Kitchen Street

Threshold Festival 2016 Exhibition at 24 Kitchen Street. 1-3 April 2016

Words and photographs by Patrick Kirk-Smith

It’s been some time since I’ve anticipated something as much as Douglas McCormick’s performance work this weekend. And even longer since I’ve walked into a space to have my expectations improved on quite so much. The dance work, using chalk dust and multiple bodies, used shadow with the consideration and confidence of someone who has been doing this for decades. McCormick graduated last year. What really took it to the next level was how it functioned within the space.

A space shared by Leon Jakeman, Laura Lomax, Robert Flynn and James Lockhart & Hannah Burkey. Whether it’s the setting, 24 Kitchen Street, or the discourse between every piece in the space, something set this apart for me. Every exhibition as part of Threshold was a success in its own way, for its own reasons, but this one got me reanimated at the end of a long day. It put a smile back on my face.

I’ve never considered galleries to be comfortable places, but 24 Kitchen Street, on the 1st of April 2016, was. All centred around Laura Lomax’s planetary mobile, Monas Orrery; a delicate hanging installation that both connected the room, through wonderful shadows, and separated it, through veiled spheres.

That visual of connected separation tied everything together, and was a trait shared by a few other works around the room. From the bold de-construction of Leon Jakeman’s gigantic triangle – which you may remember from last year – to the harsh angles woven between four plush wingback chairs, produced by the collaborative minds of Lockhart and Burkey, it all just ties in, from corner to corner. Jakeman’s bright geometric offering immediately dragged the inquisitive child out of me, as I found myself seeking ways to look at the space past different shapes. While Lockhart and Burkey had me wanting to crawl over and under their sculptural line drawing like a child at a fun house.

Even Robert Flynn’s work, which looks directly past any preconceptions of costume design you might have, helped create a conversation across the room, with the human form in his sculptural and photographic works mirrored by Douglas McCormick’s chalk flinging, hair whipping spectacle.

Unfortunately, I didn’t catch the names of his supporting dancers, to credit them here, but all members of the show literally flung themselves into the theme of alchemy, using their own bodies to question their own functions. Making new lines, and forming fresh and unseen kinds of shadows.

I could have sat down and watched the show for hours, and as I understand it, it carried on for hours too, with repeat performances throughout the weekend. Unfortunately, by the time you read this it will almost be over.