Lucy Kent and Erum Aamir: Exhibition Review

Lucy Kent ‘Eroding Time’ and Erum Aamir ‘Pollinis’ at GK Gallery and Tea Room

GK Gallery is the perfect little Sunday spot. It’s a beautiful gallery cafe, with perfect cakes and lovely art to go alongside it. We stopped and had a look at the new exhibition by artists Lucy Kent and Erum Aamir. Both different and complimentary all at the same time. Just like tea and cake!

Lucy Kent:

At first, I wasn’t sure what the artwork was of, were they wires, twigs? These little, thin lines poked out of the paper like it was growing from seeds in the wall. Then I realised, they were grasses! The pines of greens and brown protruded out of the paper horizontally, growing out rather than up. They were like the pines of a Christmas tree (very fitting) yet dried up and in a sense, more fragile.

The work in this exhibition, named ‘Eroding Time’ draws you in, which I think is because of the way these grasses were placed within the paper. There was a lot of negative space, which almost created a path way through the growth. You can imagine that these grasses are creating a new world on the paper, leaving path ways for you to walk and explore and see what’s round the corner.

I wondered, when looking at the rough, natural, recycled-looking paper, if it was a comment on the life of plants, starting with the tree. The tree, first healthy and strong, then loses its pines as they dry out, the tree is cut down and used to make paper, the paper is recycled, in which these pines have another chance to seed and grow again, one day growing into a tree. That’s my very ‘arty’ way of looking at it at least.

Lucy’s work surrounded the room but there was one piece that was different, this one was boxed. This piece, now starved of oxygen, made the grasses browner in colour, they seemed more fragile in the frame. Frames/cabinets give the illusion of something precious, something expensive or rare. They are beyond the ‘Do Not Touch’ sign, because you physically can’t. They create a barrier between the item and the viewer, which automatically gives this piece a sense of importance. I wonder why this one in particular was the chosen framed version. And in all honesty, I am not sure – Lucy Kent, if you are reading this, maybe you can explain.

‘Eroding Time’ focuses on the found and natural materials and the ‘delicate balance of our world and plant life’. I think this message does come across well in these pieces. The work seems fragile and so is our planet at the moment. The and message of this exhibition is strong so well done!

Erum Aamir:

The exhibition ‘Pollinis’ is made up of delicately beautiful, but also slightly scary, ceramic sculptures. Erum Aamir creates wonderful, coral-like sculptures. The coral resemblance comes from the colour used, the texture of the pieces and the almost animal-come-plant like combination of the shapes and forms. There was so much detail and symmetry in these pieces also, they truly seemed like something out of the wild.

Some of them were spiky, they looked almost poisonous. Some of the pieces reminded me of a sea urchins, the spikes sticky up in all directions, protecting its core. Yet inside these harsh exteriors, there were pretty, colourful and inviting flower-like shapes. I liked that contrast. I also liked how the exterior seemed like it was left unpainted, they were a natural, white colour. Referring back to the coral theme, I wondered if this represented the dead coral, bleached of its colour from the rising temperature?

Another element of Aamir’s work that I loved was the negative space in the sculptures. There were open ‘pores’ in the pieces, space for the work to breath and show it’s fragility. I can also imagine the hard work and precision that goes into creating these pieces. Taking clay away to create the pattern but also leaving enough structure for the item to hold and keep shape in the kiln – very well done!

I read the artist statement to find that my coral idea was wrong, and actually, these sculptures were of a microscopic study of plant pollen (so I wasn’t a million miles off). Erum Aamir’s work looks to mix the world of science and art. She studies plant life, and understands the importance this has on our human life and on our planet. These sculptures magnify the tiny, little pollen cells, so small yet so incredible important.

Both artists explore the natural world in their art, and they compliment each other so well. Other commonalities include the use of negative space, which I love in both of the artist’s work. They explore natural forms, so the whole exhibition felt like a very fresh and organic. GK Gallery is a calming space, and the exhibition suits that location. As you can see, we are big fans here! Oh! Side note before I end, make sure you try their vegan chocolate, banana and walnut loaf – I’m not a vegan but that is delicious nonetheless!

‘Eroding Time’ and ‘Pollinis’ is on at GK Gallery and Tea Room from 21st November – 9th January.

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