No Particular Place To Go?: Exhibition Review

‘No Particular Place To Go?’ Group exhibition at Castlefield Gallery

Correct me if I am wrong, but I think people (perhaps non-art fans) struggle to relate or appreciate sculpture, more so than they struggle with paintings? Perhaps it’s the abstractness of a lot of sculptures. Or perhaps it is because there are hardly as many exhibitions that focus solely on sculptures as there are those that focus on paintings, meaning it is not as readily available and not as common place? Well, this is where ‘No Particular Place to Go?’ comes in. An exhibition solely focused on sculpture work, showing a mix of artists who have previously exhibited in Castlefield Gallery over their last 35 years of trading.

Castlefield Gallery is a weird one I think. It sits there quietly in the background, in a central location (just across the road from Deanssgate-Castlefield tram stop) but not on the main road or a place you would usually walk by, so it is a little hidden. Yet every now and then it throws out a punch to remind people it is there.

No Particular Place to Go? highlights the gallery’s rich history of engagement with British sculpture and the role it has had, and still has as a place for the ‘sculptural zeitgeist’. Pieces in the exhibition will date back to the gallery’s inaugural programme…’

With that in mind, let’s run through some of the pieces that I liked the most.

Anthony Caros ‘Table Piece XCVIII’. This industrial type sculpture kept me entertained for a while! Although it was a deep red/brown rusty colour, this sculpture had a smooth surface to it. It was a nice sized piece too, one that you can see fitting into your home. I liked how the circular shapes of the piece inter-weaved and contrasted against the angular block it sat on. ‘Table Piece XCVIII’ was suspended on the wood, nicely balanced. It looked great from different angles too, as I crouched down to get to eye level, more shapes and shadows were revealed. Big fans of this piece!

At the lower level of the gallery, the exhibition really thrived. Overall, it was a very nice, and very clever use of the space. It was as if the whole room had been made into a sculpture, using blocks of wood to create the display, creating new and unusual shapes for the sculptures to sit on, rather than just normal, white, straight plinths. These blocks of wood were like Tetris shapes, angular and unusual. It created a whole new space, linking the display theme with the work itself. Very clever.

Against the loud and bulky pieces, lies a very delicate piece of art by Nicola Ellis. ‘Tall as it is long’ is like a fossil, like a replica or a stolen section of an ancient wall. Thin and bobbly and set on a strong block metal base, I can’t tell what the material is, or how it is made – which is intriguing. This artwork is something new and different that I haven’t seen and can’t work out. That’s why I like it.

Hilary Jack ‘Turquoise Bag’ is a sculpture piece of a blue, plastic bag, suspended from the ceiling. I think it is set in resin. Just a note here, those that may not have read my reviews before, I tend to not read the artist statement till the very end, if at all. So when I talk about guessing and not knowing what things are made of, that is intentional and not just ignorance. I want my views to be real, and told to you guys as an instance reaction to the work. I don’t want to be influenced by what the artist wants to portray or what they are trying to say. I want to see in the work what I see. There is more about that on my Artists Statement article.

The plastic bag is crinkled and creased but it is now solid, fixed in this shaped forever. Is this a message about the amount of plastic we use? That our world is currently on a delicate balance. That the plastic we have created is with us forever. Now that it is set in this crinkled shape, it kind of looks like think paint. You know when you leave layers of paint on an palette, and it’s so thick that it becomes plastic-y – that is what it this piece looks like.

The alien type object named ‘Pierced, Piereced, Piereced Form’ was created by Laura White. It’s like a weird orb, yet it looks like a kids playground with all the colours and curves. The brightly coloured plastic reminds me of a waterpark, like you can slide down the shapes and end in a colourful pool at the bottom. As I look closer at the shapes in the sculpture, I start to recognise them; a pink plastic watering jug, a green picnic cup, a small black shoe. All the parts are set together in a grey cast, weaving in and out of the dull colour.

The last sculpture that took my fancy was that of Ana Genoves, named ‘Obstacles’. This was a sculpture of a nice, soft puddle on the floor. The ripples make this piece. They were so subtle but make it look like a still, a stop in motion. I really wanted the ripples to reflect something dripping from above. I looked up, hoping to see another sculpture to match it… There wasn’t. Perhaps, the plastic bag piece would have been good displayed above the puddle? If they wanted to create a conversation between the two pieces, but that is for the curator and artists to talk about. Overall that is still a lovely piece.

There’s a great mix of materials in ‘No Particular Place to Go?’ yet most of the pieces are very weird and conceptual. This exhibition won’t be for everyone, some people won’t ‘get it’. But those that do like sculptures, or willing to give it a try may be surprised. If perhaps not at any one particular piece, but at the overall effect that the exhibition has. I truly liked how it was all curated, how it wasn’t rows of shelves and plinths, how you can walk around a set, a purpose built set made for this exhibition. I appreciate it when galleries do that, it makes a real difference. So well done Castlefield Gallery, this was a very strong punch!

‘No Particular Place to Go?’ is on at Castlefield Gallery from 6th Sept – 27th Oct. Free entry.

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