far and wide: Narrative into Idea, curated by Jasmin Stephens brings together five artists who work across a variety of mediums, their similarity being an engagement with process and narrative. As Stephens says, “In the exhibition the artists are exploring narratives that relate to feminism, psychology, mass media and play. The exhibition isn’t just looking at their subject matter, however. Rather it’s looking at the artists’ methodology – the way in which they deal with narrative by framing it through an organising idea.” Each artist gains inspiration from diverse sources giving examples of the variety of ways in which one can begin an artwork or begin the creative thread that can develop into an artwork.
Tom Nicholson’s work Printed pages/Bearing images/1998-2008 began with an idea when the artist was at university. Intrigued by images in the media of people bearing images of other people the artist began to collect every image he found that fitted that description. This was a process that went on for ten years without a clear objective in sight. Instead the artist enacted the process of collection for collecting’s sake. His artwork for far and wide: Narrative into Idea is a video compilation of every image on slow dissolve. The work acts as a slice of subjective history, a way to understand a period of time within a tight descriptive framework. It also acts as an equalizer, as protests and celebrations from one culture to the next dissolve into each other, linking these unconnected events into an event of shared humanity.
George Egerton-Warburton invites us into a fantasy world where the suspension of disbelief, usually reserved for children, is requested from the audience. His diorama depicts a luscious tropical environment where a toy horse and found materials from his studio abound. The work evolved from the stress of packing up and moving to California for a place at a renowned art school. As this played on his mind, Egerton-Warburton played with what was at hand in his studio, creating his own diorama of escapism.
Alex Martinis Roe has made a video piece documenting the close bond formed between two women who were active participants in the Milan Women’s Bookstore Collective Circolo della rosa. Martinis Roe is interested in oral histories and her process involves walking the earth talking to people. The video gives the audience an intimate and personal account of a much larger international movement, which is often studied and theorised on a macro level but rarely is light shed on the personal account of the individuals involved.
Michael Lindeman’s work dates back to his first job at Sizzler restaurant when he was 15. As a boy he kept the certificate of dishwashing he received and it now serves as inspiration to the adult artist. Lindeman has painted a replica of this certificate, using it as a type of humorous self-portrait. This is shown alongside a painted replica of an open letter to the viewer, where the artist recalls his casual job at Sizzler while simultaneously questioning society’s expectations of artists.
Barbara Campbell, a performance and installation artist has used text as the starting point for her large-scale installation Conradania, in this case Joseph Conrad’s acclaimed novel The Heart of Darkness published in 1899 and set on the Congo River in Africa. Campbell spent eight weeks typing out the book word for word on twenty 15ft lengths of Chinese rice paper. She then filmed the Jungle Cruise ride at Disneyland, which is played on a small screen in front of the hanging rice paper. Her ironic and humorous installation started with a fascination with text that developed into a critique of masculinity Western Europe’s exoticism of other cultures.