AboutSpike Island presents a new exhibition of work drawn from the Arts Council Collection. Bringing together for the first time the work of artists Claire Barclay, Becky Beasley and Turner Prize nominee Karla Black, Structure & Material takes a fresh look at current British sculptural practice.
The artists' chosen media and techniques are diverse. Unlikely sculptural materials such as cosmetics, sugar paper, blackboard paint and brass hinges, or craft in the form of carpentry and tapestry, are co-opted by all three to distinctive effect, making the familiar and everyday unsettlingly strange. From elements that are sometimes meagre or over-familiar, new poetic forms are created that are often mysterious and highly evocative.
The works in the exhibition are brought together by a shared sense of instability, ambiguity and fragility. A paper and cellophane construction by Black looks initially as if it could be easily crushed, whilst other works appear as if they could blow away. Beasley's equally fragile life sized photographs and delicate brass-hinged woodworks are deeply personal explorations into the relationship between the inanimate object and its image, the individual and its fate. Works by Barclay suspend traditional handcrafts and industrial techniques in a delicate balance soft leather, wool and traces of manual labour are at odds with machined brass spikes and gimlet steel rods.