Art: The Voice and the Object – NCN Lace Market Gallery
I N the new show at New College Nottingham's small but well-lit gallery in the Lace Market viewers may be perplexed by some spare and enigmatic wooden sculptures. Two shapes – an oval and a wibble-wobble – occupy one wall. A small box sits on the floor. Next to it is a wooden cabinet-like structure painted in a patchwork of colours. And on the other side of the room are two thin graceful forms, the larger of which loops up off the floor and reaches the ceiling.
The exhibition, curated by NCN's Traci Kelly, is called The Voice And The Object. But while the voices are three Nottingham sculptors, Leila Al-Yousuf, Lynn Fulton and Krystina Naylor, what exactly is the object? Certainly, all the pieces seek to declare their right to existence using a minimal amount of material and a shown DIY ethic. Al-Yousuf's thin elliptical forms, which she likens to the sketch of a line on paper, are made of various lengths of beech quite obviously taped together with gaffer tape. Krystina Naylor's wall sculptures, made of western red cedar and created using traditional boat-building techniques to warp and shape the wood, also reflect an interest in the innate expressive qualities of natural materials. Then there's that cabinet, made of wood and plywood by Lynn Fulton, which could pass for a piece of de-flat packed wardrobe before you realise it has no obvious function. There are two holes that could be used to carry it but no drawers, handles or openings into which one can store anything. It hovers on the edge of usefulness, masquerading as household furniture.
Fulton, from Southwell, calls her cabinet Ponyskin. But how would you describe her cabinet's colourings? First World War warship camouflage? "When I first saw it, I thought of the patchwork of fields you see on the ground when you're flying," says Traci Kelly, who brought the three sculptors together because they complemented and echoed each other. This is a show that may sinuously and quietly work its way into your mind for a while afterwards.
Not far away at the bottom end of Sneinton, at Surface Gallery, minimalism of another kind is on display in a show titled Pert And Simple. Here, Holly James and Anna Salmane take turns to puzzle and entertain viewers. There's a large video projection of a rolling seascape set to a soundtrack of snoring. There's a display showing how often one of them swore and didn't swear during the course of a year. There's a large wall hanging of fluorescent knitting and an ongoing project to make a doormat. It all has too much of the air of novelty to have anything more than surface impact, best summed up a by a small piece of graph paper which is displayed on the basis that it was inexplicably rained on in a room. Hmmm, OK.
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