This year’s Time Based Art show boasts artists working in fields ranging from performance to sculpture to documentary, producing works as diverse as hand stitched embroidery to musical guns. Edward Humphrey experiments with broken narratives in his film exploring nature, death and rebirth with the clever juxtaposition of filmed scenes and imagery and a word of mouth storytelling style. The film, entitled ‘Another Fiction’, is projected onto two handmade silver screens installed on the floor. The broken narrative is also employed by Michelle North, whose film invites us into her living room to view her documentary; an autobiographical exploration of depression and recovery. Pieced together from fragments of home movies and personal interviews with friends, North’s film is both a discursive portrayal of her own identity and a statement of hope against the stigma of mental illness.
The Scottish Highlands provide the perfect setting for ‘Corpach’, a short film presented by Alan McIlrath and Jeppe Rohde Neilsen. The film draws upon the striking natural landscape to readdress an age old story of loss, myth and mystery. Indeed, the Scottish landscape[Gordon Sp1] has provided no shortage of inspiration to this year’s graduates. This can be seen in Sarah Maclean’s sculptural installation featuring mapped walls, living foliage and unique bowls made from raw materials referring to six mythical Scottish locations. Centring her ideas on pilgrimage and the spirituality of nature, Maclean has created a mythology based on the reality of the outdoors, inviting visitors to engage with the work on a tactile level with a sign that reads ‘Please Touch’.
Next door meanwhile, Sharon Mottram exhibits a selection of expressive paintings and video works, notably a simple yet captivating video of a dress catching fire as it hangs from a tree. In this work, Mottram shares with us a special kind of beauty inherent in destruction, the destruction of accepted normality and the banal is portrayed in this slow motion work which in its critical moments signals a liberation and revitalisation mirrored in her colourful painted works.
At the entrance to the 3rd floor studios, we find an installation consisting of five mirrored walls and a stream of projected visuals depicting the four natural elements; earth, wind, water and fire. Ryan Esson’s work ‘The Void’ immerses the viewer in a sensory drama of colour, speed and sound. Intended to translate a sense of the void through 3D visualisations of natural forces, Esson certainly creates a unique experience for each visitor who dares to step inside. Katy Christopher also ventures into the land of 3D, using 2D digital animation to create hypnotic 3D spatial illusions. Deceptively complex, Christopher’s show includes interactive works which play with our ideas of real and digital space whilst exploring the history of digital technology and its implications for contemporary culture.
Elsewhere, Abigail Dryburgh’s baby pink show can’t be missed. Her work, which focuses on false memories and collective nostalgia, features wax caricatures of past American presidents and a Persian Rug depicting an advertisement for ‘The Prince of Persia’ video game from the 1990’s. These cleverly conceived, playful works appeal to our sense of humour whilst secretly shedding light on long forgotten misconceptions. But the lines between art and the media are most clearly blurred in the work of Laura Corrigan, whose advertisement campaign ‘SHUAIR’ restyles air as a branded consumer product. Complete with gas masks, bright white lights, live performances and a suspended screen, Corrigan’s show seems almost like a scene from a science fiction film. Occupying the centre space in the Time Based Art and Digital Film Show, Corrigan utilises the gallery format to subvert the ordinary and question our susceptibility to the media. Surrounded by an array of art and video works exploring themes of identity, illusion and myth SHUAIR is an excellent reminder of the power of suggestion and a fitting centrepiece to an impressive and thought provoking collection of work.