Spike Island (http://www.spikeisland.org.uk/) is an amazing art center that works as studio, exhibition and commercial space for artists, designers, print makers, writers. They also offer residencies for local, national and international artists. There is something romantic and harmonious about having all of these aspects of the art world under one roof. It’s a site for creation, exhibition, discussion and sale of the work. It reminds me of the Belgo building in Montreal but with so much more to it and is more centrally active in the larger community.
Over the weekend they had an open studio where the public was inviting to see the whole building with its expansive exhibition space(s), extremely well equipped printing and sculpture facilities and 77 artist studios. These are some of the local artists working in the space that I found most interesting.
Originally from Poland Lizon now based in Bristol working on large scale portraits of just the cutest little things. I feel much more comfortable about these being paintings rather than photographs of these tortured animals. Seeing them here in this scale they just seem to be your regular cute greeting card and don't think very much about them as art objects. When facing the massive paintings in person you marvel at the attention to detail and talent of the artist, while thinking a bit more about how the images of cutesey mister puss puss has in contemporary art and crazy cat ladies everywhere.
Hayter's work is made up of completely dark images that are sureal and is a visual representation of some larger inner dialog. Usually I don't respond to this type of work very well and generally pass it of and would say that the artist should get over himself especially when reading an artist statement like "this is my work:a long and passionate affair with depression and all that it entails." There is something painfully honest about the way that the figures are crudely placed on the canvas. I like the images that come up in his work and I felt a sense of fear about being trapped in this world that he is showing us.
Now of course this is an issue that repeats itself and continues to come up over and over. I still think its necessary for artists (and everyone for that matter) to look at dissect and play with advertising. Our world is becoming increasingly visual and at the fore front of the images we see everyday is advertising. In a lot of cases we don’t even realize it.
What I like about Oliver's collage pieces is how they remind me of innocent defacing of models and celebrities that we all scratch over the faces of by blacking out teeth or adding devil horns. This goes a few steps further it is making grotesque images from images that are intended to be beautiful just by adding a few of them together in a frankenstein like creation.
There was another great series that he did where he showed images of corpses that had died for gas inhalation and recreated perfume ads.
These sculptures by Carter have and incredibly strong but somehow silent presence and you can not help but to be enchanted and at the same time a bit frightened by them. The characters that she creates have a mythical quality to them. They feel playful and child like, while at the same time seem to have a very adult meaning behind them. confronted with a group of them in a semi-circle facing me I felt as if I was going to be sacrificed in a pegan ceremony. And I always have a soft spot for work with animal heads.