Monday, 28 January 2013

Defcon Salon 1: Members’ Show 2013 @ Embassy Gallery - review

Anyone expecting the Embassy members’ show to observe the usual etiquette reserved for such functions might just be in for a surprise. Most artists can be relied upon to pitch in with a polite, discreet artwork that won’t hog too much of the limelight, but the Embassy 2013 vintage doesn’t quite observe protocol. They granted the Orton sisters Katie, Anna and Sophie and their three-way collaboration Ortonandon the license to install hundreds of red, blue, green and yellow vinyl spots all over the gallery's walls and floor. The resulting Twister homage, replete with wheel on a plinth, provides a dazzling 60s op/pop intervention that impresses by virtue of its sheer chutzpah. 

The accompanying gallery handout by Neil Cooper persuasively argues that Ortonandon weren’t seeking to upstage anyone else here. “Inclusivity is everything to Ortonandon” Cooper writes. What the installation does is tie all the various submissions together, from lo-fi to polished, everything in an exuberant game of give and take, a push-pull dynamic of influence and intra-artist dialogue.

Even in these most crowded of surroundings, certain works prove more than capable of holding their own. Deadrie Robertson’s assemblage of platform boot, wig and bleach bottle Karen's Night Out packs plenty of trashy glam strut, Chloe Winsor’s luminous untitled pyramid still retains an air of esoteric mystery and Claire Davies’s multicoloured Bommyknocker stick clings to the floor alone quite happily.

It’s the multitude of dots that the show will be remembered for, however, tying all the local scene together in joyous knots. As Cooper’s notes put it, “Ortonandon, then, are about more than just fooling around."

No comments: