At 46 Ashfield St. in London, Strike Art partnered with Gallery46 to put on “Through the Turnstiles”, an exhibition highlighting four emerging artists whose practices span the spectrum of imaginative realism. Opening on January 19th, the exhibition was on view for 10 days, visited by spectators who could explore, resonate, and escape. The group of artists presented work from their respective contexts in Glasgow, Seoul, London, Suffolk and New York City. The environment offered each artist’s work a respective lens through which to view their art individually and in relation to the collective.
In viewing these four artists' work, these are some concepts that came up for me: imagined reality, surrealism, innateness and catharsis.
This exhibit questions what is innate in nature and what is continually entering new realms of interpretation, as one does when walking through a turnstile. There is a concept explored in poetry termed ‘the third thing’ which refers to a third aspect that exists in each relation between two things such as a person and a piece of art. The third aspect is what gives this interaction consciousness as a moment of energy exchange: a moment for newness to emerge. Art can act as that very third thing. It can be the mediation between viewers and reality; a relaxing, even cathartic process, like a tide moving in and out.
For Amanda Seibæk, a Danish painter and printmaker based in Glasgow, her background in the sciences of natural phenomena informs her works' subject matter. She plays with her viewers notions of realism and surrealism even in a scientific context- an arena of hypotheses, but where factual conclusion is the ultimate goal. The artist’s piece Solstice 1 in the exhibition offers glimpses of figures from different walks of life: human, non-human, earth-born and potentially other-worldly. These spheres welcome multitudes of meaning for the human mind to unpack.
With Bomi Kim, the viewer’s perception of water shifts. In her piece Prawn Cocktail Lover, the subjects are both holding up and faltering beneath a flow of water. In the midst of an otherwise peaceful whirlpool of human figures, a fish attempts to engulf a human foot, both violent and beautiful. The water's many hues reflect the macro emotions pulsing through the element down to the chaos of its molecules. Underneath peace, there is chaos. Apparent is the relationship between the physical and metaphysical matter.
Meanwhile, Darren Lynde Mann’s, a self-taught painter based in Suffolk, work is inspired by high renaissance figuration, akin to Michelangelo, Botticelli and Caravaggio. His figures' facial expressions draw the viewer in. Their bodiless forms invite the viewer to question what is in a body, beneath the skin, there are layers of experience and memory. Their faces reflect a moment of release following a drawn out period of shedding. They are rid of their human body, their corporal container. The body that may or may not replace the old is unknown.
And New York City-based artist Sage Schachter rounds out ‘Through the Turnstiles’ with a play on ordinary objects. His work introduces absurd imagery of mouths, teeth, underwear and a relationship found between all three. On a personal level, art allows Sage to relate with his multiple selves. In an upcoming interview ONLYCHILD conducts with Schachter, he admits that, while agonizing, he can’t help but appreciate his insomnia at times because it gives him a new insight into his inner self at that moment. These times are also when he churns out some of his most creative ideas. You can peer more into Sage’s mind through his piece Vacant-Eyed Stranger, a monstrous pair of underwear reflective of the moments when Sage looks across his bedroom and sees his dirty laundry staring him in the face.
It’s curious how our thinking can evolve when introduced to new forms of relating to the natural and built environment and even our inner selves. It’s a cycle of inquiry. ‘Through the Turnstiles’ reminds us of each day's invitation to play and welcome new domains of perception.
In terms of what’s up next- Strike Art will have a solo exhibition of artist Darren Lynde Mann’s work on March 23rd at Fitzrovia chapel in London. If you were unable to view his work in "Through the Turnstiles", this is a can’t miss!
Thank you for celebrating art with us.
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