The Exhibition “InsideOutside” ran from the 4th until the 19th October 2012
The exhibition opens on the 4th October and runs until the 19th October 2012. The exhibition was put together by gallery director Josephine Reichert who also curated the show. The artists exhibiting work are emerging artists working in Birmingham and London.
Ort Gallery is set in an old factory that now houses studio spaces for artists, artisans, designer-makers and other creative businesses. Set in an environment of making and business thinking, Fine Art sticks out as being elitist and arrogant. This inspired the show InsideOutside, bringing together four artists having had very different artistic training in their career: from none to PhD level. This text will purposefully leave out the training details of each artist, in order to let the viewer experience the show without prior knowledge of the artists’ backgrounds.
The exhibition surveys the standpoint of outsider art in the art world as well as the purpose of high level art education. Can a viewer tell how much training has gone into a piece of art? Does training inform the work or does it destroy it? Is a trained artist always inside the art scene or can she, just as an untrained artist live on the fringes of the art world? Has an untrained artist the same chance in making a living from their artwork?
Maria Christoforatou shows sculptures that clearly deal with ideas of home and belonging. The house itself is used as an image, deconstructed and reconstructed to the point of no recognition. Her work is about situating oneself, the problem of being a foreigner in ones own country or abroad and the emotional response to a home. Christoforatou pulls apart these notions and makes us question what we consider a home. Some of her works are striking pieces, creating a world of their own that no longer have an emotional attachment. Others seem to be pastiches of the nostalgia attached to a house or a home.
David Hunter shows paintings, prints and sculptures that have repeating content: the minotaur, the head and the body. Animals or humans, reality or dream all these notions are mixed up in Hunter’s depictions. The works are solemn pieces, that speak of migraines, depression and loneliness. They are strangely appealing, unlike these sick states, they draw us near and ask us to explore them. It seems as if their introvert manner makes us wonder what is beneath this apparent sadness. The artworks pick up a language that is often used in outsider art, where the depiction of illness becomes the main driving force behind a piece of work.
Daniel Oneill’s pieces stand somewhere between painting and sculpture. Using constructed reliefs paint is allows to drip freely creating at once a vibrant display of colour and a brown mess towards the bottom. The artist seems to stand between absolute control and giving the piece its own life. He’s like a lazy puppet master, holding the strings, yet not really directing the puppet. The works take on a life of their own, allowing the viewer to see any number of things in these abstract expressions. Next to the works quotes are displayed that give the work a new meaning. The intellectualism created, takes some freedom of interpretation away from the viewer again. Oneill seems to constantly change the amount of control going into the work.
Jordan Aleph clearly uses two very different visual languages to his benefit. The wall on which the prints are hung has been sprayed to create a street art like surface that is more reminiscent of wallpaper than graffiti. Bringing street art into the gallery context is no longer shocking or taboo; it’s fashionable. Yet Aleph is not concerned with fashion, he is very much interested in the medium itself using the ensuing visual language to express issues that lie at the roots of street art: freedom and constraint. The social issues are then also depicted in his framed prints telling stories of exclusion and inclusion. Fitting to the title of the show these works also question the medium of printmaking by adapting a street art language.