Frankenstein reveals the artists’ distinctive interpretations of Shelley’s thoughts and concerns on the emerging medical, scientific and technological advances and their impacts on society and individuals. From themes of abandonment and loneliness through to issues surrounding robotics, each artist brings their own insight into the broad span of ideas generated by this iconic novel. Guests can enjoy a range of exhibits including an interactive, mechanical sculpture, engaging screen-prints and a coin mosaic.
Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus, has long intrigued people since its publication and is inspiring a wealth of artistic responses in this exhibition. Julie Caves extrapolates the concept that Frankenstein’s creature is made up from many disparate parts to create a montage of paintings created over many years, a new piece of work is born from the amalgamation of many. Meanwhile Greg Martin explores the recollections of past lives and stories of the creature’s body parts asking if his memories would be a hybrid of theirs. Using collage, screen- prints and a shirt he creates a fascinating narrative of memoirs.
Frankenstein’s creature at first innocent and sensitive becomes a figure of fear and rage. Why? Nick Hazzard explores the creature’s vulnerability and loneliness in an intolerant society that rejects and persecutes him in his gestural figurative paintings. How does society treat those who are different? The theme of rejection and loneliness is amplified further in Esperanza Gómez-Carrera’s thought-provoking sculptures and collages. A determination to defeat death and a youthful ego spurred Victor Frankenstein to form and animate his creature and fear caused him to reject this living being. Contemplating the motivation of modern day equivalents to create and discard their work Sara Wickenden has fashioned a coin mosaic on Boris Karloff’s iconic image as Frankenstein’s creature.
In an engaging series of charismatic screen-prints Liz Whiteman-Smith investigates ideas of robots and using electricity to reanimate extinct animals such as a clockwork Tasmanian tiger and an electronic dodo. Chris Mercier explores links between storytelling and textiles in an intriguing printed Toile that incorporates haunting images from the story of Victor Frankenstein. Using life-sized masks Gil Lewis poignantly portrays both Mary Shelley and her famous creation alongside evocative woodcut prints.
As we enter an age where robotic creations are evolving and pose the possibility of their own intelligent life gallery visitors can meet Brian and Brenda, Graham Asker’s engaging and fascinating robotic heads. Complementing this is Dan Munday’s Kinect driven creature and Emma Hammond’s sound poetry inspired by the life of Mary Shelley.
In addition, the artists have produced a collaborative piece of work, visualising a creature made from many separate and different parts which can be seen on the landing between the basement and the ground floor. The artists’ reactions to the theme of Frankenstein have resulted in a distinctive, reflective and stimulating body of work. The exhibition brings together a wealth of complementary artwork and opens up a dynamic and intimate dialogue with the viewer. The participating artists are actively involved and visitors will be able to discuss the works with several artists present at the gallery each day.