AboutReaching, second by second, imperceptibly upwards, the tender leaves of the growing plant know not what compels them, only the desire for sunlight. Tropism, brings together artists Janssen and Robbins in an arresting new exhibition at Occupy My Time Gallery in Deptford. Although working in different mediums, the two artists share a common methodology. Each with a considered starting point, the work growing out, quite spontaneously, sprawling its way across the page, or the floor, attracting and repelling in turns, but each element of the work necessitating the next move or growth. Figurative forms merge with abstract, colours often clash and shout, but each clings to the other, in a desperate embrace.
Creating large, seductive drawings that lure us in and then confront with our own abject inner-self, Janssen shows us how our basest emotions transfigure the face we present to the world. Using deliciously wrought images from nature, fluid lines and confident colour, strange forms emerge and crawl daringly close to us.
Dividing her time between her gallery in Hackney and exhibiting in both London and the Netherlands, Dutch artist Janssen's powerful drawings have attracted much praise and recent press attention (featuring on the cover of the East End Review and in the Hackney Citizen). For Tropism, Janssen has selected work from her series Silent Screams in the Valley of Uncanniness.
Using a combination of found and made objects, Robbins creates sculptures that draw reference from pop culture and art history (imagine seventies Star Trek meets Renaissance Florence). Her sculptures, in this case a piece entitled Your Salty Dirge, which sprawls across the gallery floor, often appear benign, even appealing in their sugar-candy colours, but look a bit closer and a darker subtext is revealed. Everyday hopes and aspirations are re-imagined in a ruinous, tragicomic staging. In drawing attention to these traditions and beliefs, the precarious fabrication begins to show, ceremony and romance becoming the punch line of a bawdy joke.
Having shown both artists before, gallery director Sue Cohen recognized the potential for the duo to work together and create a mesmeric but challenging exhibition. Tropism is showing at Occupy My Time Gallery, The Enclave, Deptford 8th May - 7th June 2014.