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The Approach opens solo exhibitions by Jack Lavender and Sara Barker
Tired but Wired #2, 2021. Collage, 25.6 x 17. 8 cm.



LONDON.- Taping black Proplex panels to the floor and wall, Jack Lavender has transformed The Approach into a crepuscular stage set, creating an uncanny black box theatre dimly lit by the cold strip light overhead. Employing non-hierarchical display strategies, a few objects lurk in the space, sculptural remnants from past events, or signifiers of an impending future. A dead eucalyptus tree stands at one end of the gallery, deflated party balloons limply hang off a branch; a box of spent fireworks suggest celebrations been and gone; a disconnected KX100 phone box towers lugubriously, once the zenith of technological innovation, now an outdated and outmoded form of communication. All of these objects carry an ominous significance, spectres of a lost future.

Lavender’s concern with time has been apparent throughout his practice. He has an instinctive impulse to collect usually forgettable souvenirs from the everyday and preserve them as relics of a particular moment or era, as if they are destined for induction to a time capsule, ready for some distant future generation to discover. To quote Mark Fisher, what Lavender’s work shows us is how: “In the last 10 to 15 years, the internet and mobile telecommunications technology have altered the texture of everyday experience beyond all recognition. Yet, perhaps because of all this there’s an increasing sense that culture has lost the ability to grasp the present [… E]veryday life has sped up but culture has slowed down.”




Combining the concept of the “slow cancellation of the future” in cultural terms, with the more urgent threat of global warming and climate catastrophe, Lavender employs gallows humour as a kind of salvation. In his collages – a few exhibited in the gallery, but mostly viewable via his concurrent online presentation “Tired but Wired 2” – Lavender takes his images from found printed material magazine and newspaper clippings, old books and flyers, with a particular focus on the ‘90s and ‘00s new age and raver subcultures. In these works, the world is on fire, both culturally and literally. Images of planet Earth are symbolically interchanged with clock faces, counting us down until the moment it’s all over.

Sara Barker
[hems]
The Annexe
9th September 2021 - 23rd October 2021


For [hems], Glasgow-based artist Sara Barker is showing a series of new sculptures in The Annexe. The title takes its inspiration from the humble edge that borders a skirt, handkerchief, or sleeve; a neat and folded trim, tucking away the messy tangles of loose thread and fabric underneath. In relation to Barker’s sculptures, the hem evokes figurative associations, making connections to the things which contain and hold the body. The hem also draws attention to the physical – as well as metaphorical – edges and borders of things: both the works themselves and the exhibition as a whole are in a capsulated form. Though smaller than much of her previous work, the pieces in this new series retain Barker’s distinctive artistic language where she blurs the thresholds between sculpture, painting and drawing. Employing these disciplines and their associated materials and techniques, Barker’s sculptures create both physical and metaphysical space, sometimes expansive, and at others, claustrophobic.

Originally commissioned for her solo exhibition at Cample Line in Scotland, 2020, Barker’s sculptures were made during lockdown. Using the limited materials and space around her, and without access to a professional fabricator, Barker has been getting intimate with production. Working from home, moving between her kitchen, garage and attic, she has hand-crafted her series of domestically sized wall-mounted reliefs. Incorporating painted and moulded brass, steel and aluminium as well as everyday materials such as wood, cardboard and wire, Barker conjures little worlds, abstract scenes constituted from linear shapes drawn in metal. To quote Susanna Beaumont: “Barker’s reliefs are akin to pages from a diary, sketches sketched, a draft of a composition, a quickly written musical score. [In these new works] is a kind of unearthing, a reveal. A series of archaeological sites filled with the physical, the familiar and the unidentifiable, the less pin-down-able shaky dream, the half-recalled and the fast-dissolving memory. Earthy yet brittle, [hems] gives evidence of time spent, time stretched, time corrupted, ordered and disordered.”











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