Found Note Silk Hanky: Exhibition Review

Found Note Silk Hanky by artist Jack Brown at PAPER Gallery

This is literally going to be a review full of questions. But I feel like that is exactly what artist Jack Brown wants. He wants you to look at his work and question it, think about his pieces, where they have come from? What’s the story behind them? He entices you with his work, reflecting on the way he sees the world. I’m left wanting more which really annoys me – in a good way!

‘Found Note Silk Hanky’ at Paper Gallery, literally as it says on the tin, is an exhibition of found notes that Brown has collected, he has re-worked them, transferring them into silk handkerchief’s.

Photo Credit: Jack Brown

Handkerchief’s alone are an archaic thing. When I think of a handkercheif I think of an old Grandad, wiping away at his sniffly nose, as he wears his wholly jumper and slippers, reading his broadsheet and sitting by a fire. Why has Brown chosen a handkerchief for these notes? It does make the notes more uniform, I imagine much easier to read too. But maybe there is more to the hanky, maybe he agrees these represent an old time, a past time, like the notes themselves, they are no longer relevant, they are past notes. Or maybe I am literally reading into this too much! Sometimes I just annoy myself with what I write, I could be talking utter bull!

Photo Credit: Jack Brown

I found myself smiling and laughing at these notes, giggling away to myself. Especially the one written by a young girl about not being a boy’s girlfriend. The note comes with an added sticker of Woody from Toy Story (I am a huge Disney fan so this made me happy). The little girl writes a note to ‘the new boy…’ (does she even know his name?) about how she is so sorry she is not his girlfriend but his just his friend. The whole thing is so innocent, so genuine, she even includes love hearts and kisses. And the fact that the note was found! Did they boy throw it away? Was he so distraught that he scrunched up the note and chucked it out? Or maybe he did keep it, and only recently had a clear out? I really hope Antonia (who wrote the note) is reading this and she gets in touch, how amazing would that be? Maybe we can reconnect her and the new boy, maybe they are long lost lovers who are meant to be together! I can dream!

Photo Credit: Jack Brown

There was another note I just couldn’t get my head around. In the end I have come to the conclusion that it must be answers to a quiz. There is a list of celebrities, with the odd anomaly thrown in there. ‘Barack Obama. Taylor Swift. Lady Gaga. Twitter Account.’ Wait what? Twitter account doesn’t fit. It goes on – ‘Katy Perry. Kanye West. Unicef.’ What made me come to the conclusion that this was a quiz, was that some celebrities got a tick by their name, but some unlucky ones were wrong, marked with an X. Now I want to know what the right answers were! What were the questions? The quiz involved both Barack and Michele Obama, and Odell Beckham (an American Football player.) Has this note come all the way from America? I can’t imagine a lot of UK based quizzes would feature an American footballer. We’ll never know, and that is infuriating!

There are a few shopping lists, to be expected, and some random notes of times and dates. Another one that made me laugh was the list of names. It’s a list that I would make when thinking about who is coming out/who is coming round/to a party. It seems like a casual guest list. But why did Luke, Nev and Craney all list before the list writer? The word ‘me’ was forth on the list! I found that odd and also funny. Surely you start with yourself? Stu and George, why aren’t you crossed off? Were you coming, or not? Or did ‘me’ not get round to inviting you? Brownie and Pony, what have you done to deserve those nicknames? Did ‘me’ give those names to you? Why are there no girls on this list? Unless Brownie and Pony are girls, but that just doesn’t fit I don’t think! What is going on here? Jack Brown, this exhibition is doing my head in! I need answers!

Jack Brown’s work has a way of giving you a little but not quite enough, always leaving you wanting to know more, leaving you with questions that won’t get answered. His work takes snippets of peoples daily lives, a personal trace of them, a segment of their identity, and turns them into art, enlarging this small entity, magnifying a small moment into a precious piece of work. Big fans here at Cotton On MCR! But my days, I hate not having the answers! I want to meet Antonia and find out what happened with the new boy, and I want to meet ‘me’ and ask why Stu and George weren’t crossed off? It is literally driving me mad.

‘Found Note Silk Hanky’ by Jack Brown is on at Paper Gallery till 9th February.

For more exhibitions and events this month, check out our What’s On Calendar.

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