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Posted 30.03.15

Fine Art student Lisa Davison reviews Marie Toseland’s exhibition

By Lisa Davison

Marie Toseland pushin’ sumthin’ nice (feat. Kinlaw) - Photo by Andy Ford

Marie Toseland’s exhibition was one of the solo exhibitions that made up the second iteration of the South West Showcase in The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art.

Toseland works with sculpture, photography, performance, sound and written text.

Drawing inspiration from Nouveau Roman literature, the plays of Luigi Pirandello and battle rap, Toseland has created a solo show which sets the opening scene for an experimental opera.

Marie Toseland pushin’ sumthin’ nice (feat. Kinlaw) - Photo by Andy Ford

As you approach the gallery you are struck by a heavy bass line emanating from the space, intriguing your senses and drawing you in.

Upon entering the space you are greeted by a layout akin to that of an arena, objects are placed in a circular formation facing one another.

The edge of the circle is framed by strips of transparent vinyl curtain, creating a battleground for conversations to unfold.

Marie Toseland pushin’ sumthin’ nice (feat. Kinlaw) - Photo by Andy Ford

Your attention flits between the different elements. Two heavy monitors are set atop veneered wooden structures, speakers placed within, yet exposed from behind.

Dominantly placed right in front of you as you walk into the space, they create an imposing presence. The monitors play a series of flashing images, flicking between outlines of sharp looking implements and colours of reds, greens and yellows, with shots of photographs which come and go so quickly you never have time to consciously recognise what they might be.

Marie Toseland pushin’ sumthin’ nice (feat. Kinlaw) - Photo by Andy Ford

The sound that accompanies the video vibrates through you, creating a full body experience. Marie Toseland has created sound that is familiar yet unrecognisable.

Once your fascination with this first dominant presence in the space has passed, you begin to look at what is happening around you.

Marie Toseland pushin’ sumthin’ nice (feat. Kinlaw) - Photo by Andy Ford

Another bulky monitor is sitting on a veneered wooden plank on the floor, playing a video of a matt black vase-like object. This matt black object is featured opposite this monitor on top of an iron platform with another veneered wooden plank.

Although I am not sure that the object from the video is the same one that is here opposite, it is definitely in the same family.

Marie Toseland pushin’ sumthin’ nice (feat. Kinlaw) - Photo by Andy Ford

The object has a phallic quality to it, the matt black set off against the vinyl curtains behind, gives a sexual, S&M feel to the exhibition.

Both the video of the black form and the object itself play their own soundtracks, again featuring heavy baselines that radiate through you, taking it in turns, and sometimes overlapping each other to vie for your attention.

Delicate stained glass consisting of colours and shapes, mirroring what is played in the video are propped around the space. One in the window, another one by a pillar and one against the wooden structure that holds the two monitors.

Marie Toseland pushin’ sumthin’ nice (feat. Kinlaw) - Photo by Andy Ford

Exposed wires and technology are very prominent in the space, creating an atmosphere that is similar to a live event, with mixing desks, dvd players and a boombox adding to the battle rap arena.

The exhibition, although made up of multiple pieces, I believe should be viewed as a whole. All the pieces work together, creating an arena, setting the scene for the opera or battle to begin.

Marie Toseland with Kinslaw. Photo by Andy Ford

The objects are poised, engaged in a conversation, the different video-works and audio taking their turn to have the limelight.

Toseland has created an exhibition that you cannot rush, you must stay for the hour, and see how the conversations unfold.

Marie Toseland pushin’ sumthin’ nice (feat. Kinlaw) - Photo by Andy Ford

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