Monday 11 July 2022





A dark and hot space. The viewing room for a film installation. Two sculptures based on the oldest carving made by a human. One is balanced on the projector and the other is below the screen. The film being projected seems to be exploring the relationship between the different levels of existence which occur when you find an object that largely has the appearance of being a rock but then is also a record of the beings that use the rocks as tools. Time becomes dismissive as you move between different dimensions of the way that things occur. A domestic household could be sitting on the site of an ancient encampment. The suburban landscape takes a leap forward and becomes the background for what could be seen as space age debris. All the while signs and symbols seem to float across the screen some even physically attached to it in celebration of a forgotten festival. Abstract imagery moves on the screen and is reflected in the symbolism that appears across the two stone objects. Cosmic mapping alongside the dignity of existence. Time exists within all objects even when we are not aware of it. The nature of film allows us to ponder on what is actually there and what only seems to be there. The film is cyclical but appears to stem from a mush of amorphous colour which then takes the form of a thistle that in purity of form outweighs any dome that man has superseded in emulation. This film installation by Ian Dawson is in a separate room to the body of the exhibition but seems to work in the way that a beating heart both drives the body but also allows the entirety to flow through it. Because of this it almost feels like Dawson is the chronicler of the exhibition.

Horizon is the latest exhibition at the Cello Factory curated by Alex Hinks. There are 23 artists in the show. It is the third exhibition that I have been to curated by him. I never cease to be amazed by the clarity of vision and the forethought that goes behind each show. As with the others, Horizon has an amazing sense of narrative which interlinks each piece in a way that adds cohesion and relevance. There is a story and a journey being undertaken that sees each artist as being related but in a way that creates independence. 

The entrance to the exhibition frames a central image  which is giant and monumental. The work of Peter Lamb’s Packed Earth uses digital printing and synthetic canvas in a kind of amorphous collage. It appears to be a melting pot of colour and form which streams and merges across the whole image like a waterfall. Striking and mesmeric it draws you into the space.

Hinks has then used an intuitive and mature sense of how an exhibition can build up a story within the theme. Images have been placed so that each adds fluidity to the one next to it. Either through using colour or in some cases the actual horizon the viewer is presented with a way for the eye to move around the space. There is a lovely sense of movement between the work of Peter Lamb to Alex Hinks to Hannah Luxton and Perdita Sinclair.  Then having used the horizon as a launch pad dissolves into a tonal and colour exploration as we move along the wall into the work of Natalie Dowse and Robyn Beacon. Toward the end of this movement we then encounter a lovely little piece which opens out the question about the way that we view the horizon by taking away the object altogether. A building has disappeared. This is the first of  two pieces in the exhibition by Alice Wilson where we have the conundrum of the missing object.

There are other subtle links which form journeys; the work of Caroline List centres around circles and is then paired with the work of Ann Grim who produced a whole series of small circular pieces. These linking of the circles is like manna from heaven to Alex Hinks who spots the overlap between Benjamin Deakin’s horizon based signal circle becoming a reflective link into List’s work and then along the wall to Grim. Hinks has taken a strong curatorial part in the way that Grim’s work  then extends itself between the main gallery and the balcony area by growing out of one main image on the ground floor, floating upwards to end in a new circular form above. Atomic bubbles reforming and replacing themselves. 

Its a grand way to lead the viewers eye from the main floor to the balcony.

If Ian Dawson feels like the chronicler it also becomes very apparent that Hinks as the curator becomes the guide. He is the one who leads the viewer through the journey and uses all his experience to make that trip seamless. He has taken the work of 23 people and formed chains and links that makes the whole exhibition feel like a necessary and meaningful experience.  As such there are no weak links in the show. Everything has purpose and is essential to the whole.

This is where the art of the curator lies. Alex Hinks not only sees the relationship between artists that he chooses but also sees the ways that a journey can become an adventure; a movement through imagery that explores what could be described as the building  blocks of creativity. No weak links just words within a sentence. 

For this he should be applauded.

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