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Semi-Gloss, Semi-Permeable - Helen De Main, Samantha Donnelly, Carla Scott Fullerton, James McLardy, Rallou Panagiotou, Sarah Wright

Semi-Gloss, Semi-Permeable - Helen De Main, Samantha Donnelly, Carla Scott Fullerton, James McLardy, Rallou Panagiotou, Sarah Wright

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First published by Semi-Gloss on the occasion of the exhibition Semi-Gloss, Semi-Permeable, 8-25 April 2016. Commissioned by the artists in association with Glasgow International.

Semi-Gloss, Semi-Permeable presents new work by six artists who use distinct approaches to the positioning of self in relation to material culture. Working across sculpture, printmaking and installation their practices are tied together through shared interests in fragmented bodies, anatomised commodities, alternative histories and questions of gender. Each artist presents an intimate and sometimes personal exploration of these interests as they try to make sense and be attentive to how everyday experience and contemporary culture constructs both individual and collective identities.

Using an array of carefully selected imagery, objects, references and materials each artist puts their chosen subjects through a rigorous working process. By means of both traditional and experimental printmaking and sculptural techniques they alter, manipulate, distort and re-present these conceptually loaded materials and commodities that both come from and are linked into our daily lives, be that via work, at home or through various leisure or social activities.

These evocations to ‘daily life’ are intrinsically linked to notions of the self and the body with the works all implying some form of relationship with it; be that directly as seen in the use of certain visual imagery (i.e re-appropriated from magazines & archival photographs); by association through the selection of specific objects and forms (i.e clothing, jewellery & make-up); artificially as demonstrated in the assorted modes of display and presentation (i.e mirror stands, frames & suitcases); and perhaps one could even say by way of our subconscious as the artists present us with shapes and forms our hands are naturally accustomed to holding, touching and tending to.

This subconscious attraction could also be seen to manifest itself through the surface finishes and textures of the materials (both real and fake) that the artists choose to work with as well as in the way the works are exhibited – all freestanding and all utilising structures reminiscent of those found around the home, the high street, office and museum (a practical and collective decision made by the artists when preparing the show). Presented in a newly completed office development made up of polished steel floors, pre-cast concrete walls and paneled windows, the works command the room upon their individual islands, pedestals, armatures and stages, positioning themselves as being there for both business and pleasure.

Whilst this might all suggest an appearance that is quite superficial the works are in fact in many ways very honest, attempting to lay bare what lies beneath. We are clearly exposed to the making process and means of production in many of the works. We are presented with materials in both a finished and raw state and are presented with candid replications of images and objects that though altered do a good job of reminding us of the underlying realities.

The nod to gender within the show can also not go unnoticed or be avoided with the aesthetic qualities and concerns of women repeatedly presented, however its importance in relation to the working process, materials and subject matter is not a priori for all the artists presented here – but it’s certainly worth thinking about in terms of gender roles when we talk of daily life and the inequalities that still exist there.


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