Magazine article Art Monthly


Magazine article Art Monthly


Article excerpt

* Moot

Contemporary Art Society London 20 February to 29 May

Unlike organisations that boast impressive exhibition spaces in their corporate headquarters, the Contemporary Art Society (CAS) does not enjoy such a luxury at its modest Emerald Street offices. But this has not prevented it from mounting the Rotate series of exhibitions, showcasing work from artist-led groups throughout its busy working office. Of course, CAS is not a corporation, though you would be forgiven for assuming that an organisation billing itself as 'the UK's leading independent authority on contemporary collecting' would have somewhere other than its office walls to display the art it promotes.

Filling these office walls for the fourth Rotate exhibition is work from Nottingham's industrious artist-led gallery Moot. Founded in 2005 by artists Tom Godfrey, Tristan Hessing, Candice Jacobs and Matthew Jamieson, Moot works with both emerging and established artists, offering them exposure and promotion rather than commercial representation. This benevolent stance is reflected in the fact that none of Moot's artist-directors have contributed any of their own work to this diverse group exhibition.

With the absence of any obvious theme, random juxtaposition characterises this exhibition and the artworks are inevitably read in relation to their office environs. Several of the artists are at it too, including Richard Paul, whose deadpan, packshot-style photographs pair disparate objects against saccharine backdrops to generate narrative, and Rachel Reupke, whose film Tignes, 2005, features a child's helium balloon drifting briefly and inexplicably through a snow-capped mountain scene.

The desultory mood continues with Mark Harasimowicz's bifurcated drawing practice, represented here by a couple of small pieces comprising meticulously drawn grids overlaid with tentative, spidery doodles. In acute contrast is a fastidious pencil drawing of an elephant (minus its trunk) from which a small circle has mysteriously been cut. Nearby, an air of nostalgia permeates an ethereal painting by Seth Pick. Painted with a drab palette of browns and greys, Donkeys and Riders, 2008, is based on a found image of children riding donkeys on a beach. But it is the process of translating the image into paint that is the real fascination for Pick, who revels in its materiality. Hovering between semblance and abstraction, Pick's fluid yet controlled brushwork seems intent on muzzling any hint of painterly virtuosity by disrupting the image with deliberately awkward moments.


The other painter featured is Pat O'Connor, whose selection of gouaches, installed next to the photocopier, are also derived from found imagery which she subverts to create surreal, indeterminate narratives. In this context, her diminutive works on paper initially recall the type of preschool images that proud parents often pin to office walls. Unconstrained areas of watery paint and cursory gestures are deftly balanced with more controlled passages. One ambiguous work, Cava, 2007, features a bizarre cast of strange looking characters (a family perhaps?) holding what look like bottles; puzzlingly, one of them is devolving into a disturbing amorphous blob. …

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