One of those precious autumn days of mist and damp when the sun still has a bit of warmth was spent in Camley Park before the close of Wild New Territories.

Camley Park is small, overgrown and on the canal which lends an even greater air of dankness to its earthy decay on such a day. The bright plastic coated artworks contrast strongly in the undergrowth. Outside video screens and large format prints are placed amongst the trees. The artwork explores the interplay between the urban and the wild, some of the work using a sledgehammer approach and others making beautiful and enigmatic interventions.

A favourite was ‘Howe Street meets Camley Park’ video by Kathy Kenny and Ron den Daas

Video footage of passers by is set against an urban background that morphs from reality into a painted depiction of a landscape, from fact to fiction.

Like suddenly entering a dream, stepping back in time or forward into the future, the same place in another time. Very beautifully done it was mesmerizing.

Also I was keen to see if the bull skull Gordon Cheung had installed in a bee hive had in fact been turned into a skull shaped honeycomb.

Not quite but there was lots of honeycomb around and it gave a whole new aura to a bee hive.

The last in the Odds Against Tomorrow series of exhibitions opened at Bearspace  and I went along for the private view.

Exhibit D draws together work with a dark side. I found David Lupton’s abattoir series of drawings the most disturbing.

 Detail from Abattoir 3 by David Lupton

It brings back memories of the abattoir in my childhood village that we would visit peering in through the bars to see the whites of the cattle’s eyes as they waited their turn, but it is mainly the character in the drawing.

He has a clown like face with eyes that touch something even deeper in my memory that is uncanny and unsettling.

Lupton says he is exploring horrors of reality and the innate violence of man through his work.

It is an uneasy relationship between us and our meat. Distanced from the horrors of the abattoir, the raw flesh and such evidence of death it’s almost like a parallel reality going on somewhere else.

Another pause for thought about the horrors of violence was the satire ‘The White House Murder Case’ by Jules Feiffer. When it comes down to survival, mortal or political what are we prepared to do? Where are our sensibilities?

This tension between physical and emtional disconnection and facing up to violent realities were also something that came across listening to Andrew Salgado talk about his paintings in the show The Misanthrope at Beers Lambert.

Salgado set himself the tricky task of building a show around the premise of the misanthrope – someone who hates people – and took the gay serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer as a starting point to consider his emotional response in painting such a reprehensible figure. The outcome has been an arresting set of paintings bursting with emotion built up with thick gestural blocks, drips and splashes of paint.

It was also interesting to see how his painting has evolved since the first Surface show at The Crypt in 2011.

So my thoughts have been directed around facing up to those darker sensibilities of violence which emanate from something close to nature but also to the new relationships that evolve within our urban environment.

I was delighted to hear the founder of The Roundabout Appreciation Society talk on radio 4 about his love of the roundabout which he described as ‘an Oasis in a sea of asphalt’.

In my directory of folders sits one called Roundabout with lots of images like this

all waiting to be incorporated into a series of work called Oasis. I should maybe get in touch with the association – he said they lacked women members.

In the meantime I have finished the second Graft piece looking at ideas of transplanting, cutting and inserting something appealing onto a base or unappealing substrate.

A hybrid plant in a hybrid landscape. The rhododendron image is revealed by cutting into the background image with a soldering iron incising the polyester to reveal layers underneath.

I was interested to read in the local paper that the rhododendron ponticum a non-native variety introduced by the Victorians to the Isabella Plantation in Richmond Park is being removed as it is causing a risk of disease.

And so the landscape changes.

Advertisements