Wednesday 20 April 2022

A Growing Enquiry at the RHA Gallagher Gallery, part 2

In last week's post I did an overview of this exhibition and spoke specifically about a few of the artists. As it is a large exhibition I thought I would mention a couple more of the artists.

On entry to the gallery I could see Laura Fitzgerald's 2D works on the wall across the room and from that distance thought they were embroidered works - they seemed so fine and precise. But no these were not embroidery (though no less painstaking); they are certainly fine and precise, but these are witty drawings done with Sharpie pens! I looked at the accompanying didactics for this group and indeed the titles also are full of good humour: (clockwise from upper left) Restless Tractors, More Weather, but I do still care, Powerful People Promises and The Ark.

Here's a closeup of Restless Tractors.The back and forth drawing of the field with the Sharpie mimics plowing field and draws the viewer into both the making and the meaning of the work.

The panoramic landscape scroll A Mountain for Venice also has a witty didactic in which Fitzgerald details each item used in the work's creation - not just the material but where it was purchased and how (and in the case of the specific paper, how long it spent in customs before she finally received it!).

Jane Locke's Consumer Farmer (which could only be seen once one was fully in the gallery) is also a witty work with an eye to the future. I was especially looking forward to her contribution to the exhibition as I have experienced her work on several occasions in the past (and wrote about one in CIRCA Online here). Locke's installation comprises of a futuristic geodesic dome greenhouse where the plants are sparse but alive and well, a worksuit, which again seems futuristic as it has a farmer's patch on it very similar to what one might expect on a NASA spacesuit, and the product catalogue for the spring of 2123 full of Locke's beautiful drawings and surreal product descriptions.

The exhibition A Growing Enquiry - Art and Agriculture, Reconciling Values continues till April 24, 2022.

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