Nadja Gabriela Plein, Noriko Hyodo and Isabella Wesoly
The ‘Project Room’ on the first floor allowed sufficient space for a diverse but loosely related collection and the ingenious deployment of space created an effective and silent guide. However, the absence of artist/title names and descriptions for most of the exhibits raised a question about didactic functions in art. Clearly art works can also be appreciated through internal conversation with our own perception.
On entering the gallery space, a strikingly patterned canvas (by Katie Shepherd) with black and red-orange tones was an eye catcher. Executed in oil it suggested a sense of order and balance that was relative to some adjacent works. Yet, challenging this order to the right a rendition in oil from Catherine Williams examined and questioned the use of empty space in buildings. In the foreground a door to a house is partially boarded up, yet from within a pale, warm, yellow light from the overhead dormer suggests occupants. In contrast, the unfinished modular erection beyond was eager for an outer casing, casting no light from within. Was there a flicker of daring souls seeking solace from ‘yards’?. The deep crimson tones foreshadowing both buildings holds connotations of the toil and sweat of builders, as a river of blood running beside the old terraced style brick built home and from the economically wounded, stacked and modular new.
Even though a framed work by Catherine Williams was hung in the adjacent gallery space to the far right, the absence of artworks directly ahead (on entering) guided a movement in an arc, towards the left. Here an inviting recess opened up, where entry into it was paused by black and white photography. These photos were a voluntary offering to record activity at the arts centre and lent an air of celebrating success, both complementing and standing apart from other exhibits.
Vivid and bright colours aided and generated by multiple elements were offered to viewers by Nina Carter's garden flowers. Her vivacious rendition in oils offers an allegory for the simplistic flow of nature and the eco-quest to preserve it. Reminiscent of Manet’s blue river and likewise questioning pollution via toxic colour, do the central and upright blue leaves suggest an over indulgence of sodium or waste chemical? Together, this and the previous piece created a contrast, where geometric inclusions and natural observations are akin to the marriage of Science and Nature’.
The two-dimensional interpretation of what could be a church, vault or chapel, was another eye catcher where architectural construct suggested a refinement of skill. Another rendition in oils, Katie Shepherd effectively allowed a sense of faith to emerge. Perceived as an inner sanctum this work leads observers to a certain light via the reflective quality of impasto tiles that also suggest a floral relief design. Echoing a theme of the adjacent work (on its left) this ’vault’ can be expressed as a route by which we see light at the end of a proverbial ‘tunnel‘. An overseeing eagle perched on cast ironwork (in the upper right), glances towards the dark and the light of the art work to the left and away from that which he rises above, coveting the grey within the tabernacle like structure. Meaning can be conditioned by other art works hung adjacent/opposite and also (in this case) the movement of the viewer deeper into a recess of the physical gallery space.
The Cosmic impression (entitled Muddah Hubbah Passes Purple Ribbons Through the Firmament) by Isabella Weoly, was presented at a right angle to and counter-clockwise from the vault-like work. Purple ribbons before a direct light coming from beyond the dark of space. With a visual tone of bright white light through a deeper-than-black-hole-void the work was well placed (at the East side of the gallery) with its connotation of a new dawn, even though the central icon was inspired by a recent solar flare. With an intention to question the notion of ‘nothingness’ the audience was invited to stare at the ribbons, in hope that a transparent cuboid appears.
The portrayal of hope in the previous work is enhanced by the impact of the diptych/pair by Nadja Plein (left side of the recessed space), which hold connotations of radiation infused baby dolls. Is it a subconscious suggestion of a sense of terror via nuclear risk assessment? The two oils on canvas created a stark contrast to the suggested ’faith’ in the work opposite. At the same time Nadja Plein successfully raised the question ’why are the dolls coloured that way?’ effectively mirroring the notion of toxicity perceived in the bright blue plant, amongst Katie Shepherd's vivacious flora that was hung diagonally opposite.
To the left of the recessed space were four representations in oils by Noriko Hyodo deploy a delicate paintbrush technique. Her individual observations of ‘hand’ and ‘foot’ showed an appreciation of tone and form, executed in a fine and confident style. In two of the works in this series the Noriko Hyodo used a two-tone candy stripe mounting of pale teal/cream, creating a sense of a solidity to and detachment from the painted forms. At the same time a state of humbleness regarding mankind’s basic needs comes through in the depictions of access to running water and a safe sleep. As a set the four paintings were grouped horizontally, which created a balance with the candy stripe vertical lines and a link to the final two pieces in this section of gallery space.
An appreciation of myths, legends and folklore is evident in the small, framed digital print by Isabella Wesoly. The open book signifies a new chapter that’s heralded by a duality in three-dimensional time, with the given title of Heliacle Rising. To the left and beyond an irregularly shaped orifice a tired and bent death of night is absorbed into the heavens, whilst the birth of dawn appears through another irregular gap, of the drapes. The central figure rests her left hand on the opened pages and the toes of her right foot on earth, with heel raised. Together with the partial colouration this foot signifies a detachment from earthly matters in favour of the cyclical nature of cosmic shifts, with a wink from a distant star that arrives before a certain dawn that’s known as a ‘heliacle’.
The final piece along the row of six smaller works was Thar Be Dragons. A dragon energy abstract impression, rendered in violet ink and yellow transparent acrylic. Whilst no dragon was consciously drawn into this design by the Isabella Wesoly, their presence is suggested and inter-mingled with a trinity of etheric/cloud-like forms. Interesting when viewed the other way up, assured by Wassily Kandinsky that there’s another way to view abstract impressions.
Finally and moving out towards the adjacent gallery space, was a solitary glass framed art work by Catherine Williams. Multiple outline sketches of overlapping nudes interlaced with coloured shapes, the artistic content defied the suggestion that this work is ‘alone‘. With no other works beside it the life drawings speak silently through the glass where reflections of surrounding works insisted that the solitary is an illusion. In an abstract sense the reflective nature of glass sealed the collection, as well as the image it protects.
A collective title for the exhibits could easily have been something along the lines of ‘Marks of Inner and Outer Space?’ but no name seemed to have been given to this exhibition, nor was it included in any press release. It gets a well worth mention here though and tied in with what Sean Michael Pearce had created upstairs.
On the 2nd floor (above) Sean Michael Pearce asked ‘when is the end not the end?’. Perhaps when it’s ‘open ended’. Sean used this term to describe his separate exhibition, but this synopsis celebrates both the joint exhibition by resident artists on the 1st floor and the 1st year of OPEN Ealing Arts Centre in West Ealing, London. The image below links to a poem inspired by Sean Michael Pearce's exhibition.
I hope that you took time out to visit both exhibitions.
If you have photographs of works that were included and you'd like to add them to this page, please contact us.
Isabella Wesoly agrees that ‘Time = Art’ but she wasn’t the first to say it
OPEN Art Exhibition
Featuring creative works from resident artists at Open Ealing Arts Centre Exhibitors