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  • Curators Kevin Hunt and Hannah Jones with Ruth Proctor's Time Machine

  • Exhibitions Officer Zoe Li, Artist Susan Collis, Curators Hannah Jones and Kevin Hunt

Posted 17.05.16

Review: good things come… in The Gallery

By Louise Riou-Djukic

'good things come...' opens in The Gallery.

"Blink and you'll miss it...", as said on the leaflet. I would advise not to blink too long, or the chance to see the show will slip between your fingers as good things come but they also go…"

‘good things come…’ - showing 25 Aprill to 04 June in The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art // www.plymouthart.ac.uk/latest/calendar/good-things-come-exhibition/

BA (Hons) Fine Art student Louise Riou-Djukic reviews:

‘good things come…’ is an ambitious show kick-starting The Gallery’s new Sculpture Season. The show, including 17 artists and more than 31 artworks was curated by Kevin Hunt and Hannah Jones and the volunteers (including me) could tell you how much sweat and worry was involved in its building but it’s here now and it’s all magic.

And the magic comes in all shapes, even in the everyday, even in the small seemingly inconspicuous objects that we encounter on a daily basis.

Sean Edwards 'Practice Table' (PCA version)

That’s what Sean Edward’s almost obsessional organisation of tiny items shows us with ‘Practice Table’. One could ask: why is it magic? Why is it beautiful? Those objects, even destituted from their original purpose still have a value: an emotional one.

We all have that drawer or bowl filled with the same kind of items (keys of lost padlocks, buttons of suits we don’t even have anymore, old pens...) that we keep just because we like them or we just got used to them.

"Everything resides in the maybe and freedom is left to each individual’s imagination."

And when you consider those objects on the table, isn’t there anything that you recognise? Anything that you can identify with? Some of them are modified with paint, paper, collages, which gives them an edge of hilarity on top of their mundane existence.

With this piece, the show opens on the beauty of our bounds with ‘little nothings’ whether those bounds sit in what they evoke or in our memories with them.

Ruth Proctor's 'Time Machine' (2015)

Talking about memories and moving within the space, one of the pieces you next encounter is ‘Time Machine’ by Ruth Proctor: a colorful pop-machine that plays music and makes the child inside us kick in to make us play and try to win the prize.

Bringing up joyful memories of summer fairs and taking us back in time, the machine however seems also to bring nostalgia in the lot.

"Imagination, child’s play and magic are indeed key elements to the show."

Maybe it’s the grown-up taking over again or maybe it’s something else, but as you play you remind yourself: even if the fun of the memory’s there, it’s not completely the same as it used to be.

Somehow, you know that the chance to win is very small and that you may be hoping and hoping again in a constant loop of hope and disappointment. A bit like life but still, the machine is full of toys and your inner-child hopes to be the one.

Vanessa Billy's 'End of Days' (2013)

The next piece I’d like to talk about is just around the corner: Vanessa Billy’s lightbulbs in muddy water ‘End of Days’. The use of the vase takes away an idea of floating ‘trash’ in a river and transforms what is part of everyday in a very harmonious and delicate object.

Light bulbs are indeed quite beautiful when you take the time to detach them from their original purpose.

"And the call for innocence and contemplation doesn’t stop there, it continues all around the space."

And you come to the same conclusion when encountering Leo Fitzmaurice’s selection of cut boxes ‘Please Open Your Mind for a Simple Thing’ that at first, you may mistake for toy cars, but when you approach and look, you see the reality of what they actually are and despite their original meaning, their clean lines and bright colours draw you in.

Agnes Calf's 'Elbows' (2013)

That’s probably one of the ways magic works in the show. In stopping and seeing what we don't usually notice or even consider. It’s about stopping, taking a break and leaving our inner child and their imagination to take control for a moment.

With Agnes Calf's ‘Elbow’, for example, it’s difficult to figure out what’s happening without the help of the title, but once you get it the image of a young person daydreaming, head resting on its hands comes up.

'good things come...' in The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art

The imprint left by the artist's elbows in soft clay, somehow reminding me of Play-Dough, works as an alien but successful type of photograph, capturing time in its own manner to let us contemplate the beauty of simple things. And the call for innocence and contemplation doesn’t stop there, it continues all around the space.

"It’s about stopping, taking a break and leaving our inner child and their imagination to take control for a moment."

Indeed, as you progress in the space you encounter a list of funny items that would probably just stop a child if they weren’t put in a gallery space, including an inflated cardboard box by Clive Murphy, a simple rock from Peter Amoore and even a few shrimps in plastic bags by artist Vanessa Billy.

Two cloud-like shaped wall-mounted sculptures side by side caught the attention of my own inner child.

Clive Murphy's 'You Drive Me Crazy' (2005)

The small and dreamy pieces open a door for imagination and I can’t help but think about summer again and the memories of laying in the grass to look at the sky and wonder about the shape of clouds.

And that’s probably how it works, to figure out ‘Bucky’, a sculpture made out of plaster and cutlery, you need to wonder a bit.

It looks like a puddle but it could be a cloud or even a bunny? The name refers to something popular, surely. Maybe it’s a reference to a book or to a cartoon, but who knows? Everything resides in the maybe and freedom is left to each individual’s imagination.

Left: Jo Addison's 'Cloud' (2013) Right: Kevin Hunt's 'Bucky' (2016)

Imagination, child’s play and magic are indeed key elements to the show. It may not seem like much at first glance, but if you start looking at things from different angles and if you actually take time to look, the magic appears.

‘good things come…’ is about stopping time and marvelling at the little things surrounding us; it’s about taking a breath and some time to become an innocent mind again and to find the beauty everywhere you can, even in the unfortunate and unnoticeable.

"Blink and you'll miss it...", as said on the leaflet. I would advise not to blink too long, or the chance to see the show will slip between your fingers as good things come but they also go…

www.plymouthart.ac.uk/latest/calendar/good-things-come-exhibition/

Reviewed by Louise Riou-Djukic, BA (Hons) Fine Art student. See her work at louiserioudjukic.wordpress.com

Photos by Dom Moore and Sarah Packer.

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