PLAY brings together 15 contemporary artists in an exhibition that explores the spontaneity, anarchic tendency, materials & subtext to the playful in recent contemporary art.
The selected artists work in ways which incorporate play, both in their attitude to the making of art and anticipated response from the viewer. Fun is a definite aspect of the work. Firstly through the artist's use of medium, cutting and splicing through paper, paint, film and digital media, overlaid in a scrapbook type assemblage. Other artworks feature found objects, often discarded or collected and recycled into new forms, subverted, played with and given new context.
Works of high polish and completion confront the layered and often rough quality of other pieces, both display an anarchic side, challenging ones view of the finished product. Some works can be seen as defiance against artwork as commodity, often messy and rough around the edges. Materials are allowed to burst out and at times are left unfinished. This low-fi nature adds to the almost throwaway quality often associated with the 'prototype' or 'maquette.'
Many artists on display refuse to place themselves within a natural discourse. The manipulation of materials placed together in different combinations form an odd marriage oscillating between material & subjectivity, teasing the viewer into playing with the artist on terms that fit with their particular game. Most work, however playful uses what could be seen as superficiality through material and process, to highlight subtext buried in some cases deep within the work. As one contemplates this work through layers of material, colour and image quite often a reading of the work becomes apparent through an outward packaging.
At a time when the artist becomes almost a lost voice through the layers of market placement, these works are defiant examples of play as transgressive performance, resisting art market commodification, with more in common to the bona fide underground of Punk in the 70s and early 80s pre-mass marketing. Some may see this as an exploration and return to craft, their art seeks a purist understanding of materials & underground notions that inform and hold up these works.