A group show of works exploring the meaning of love.

Artists: Santina Amato, Jo Bertini, David Burrows, Emma Davies, Kirstin Finlayson and Dr. Elizabeth Presa.

Exhibition opens on Valentine’s Day, February 14th, 6-8pm

JO BERTINI, ‘Not in Love’
Jo Bertini’s work charts an intense and intimate journey. Sketches and works on paper are drawn immediately from her travels through the Simpson Desert; Jo goes on long expeditions, supported by a traditional pack-carrying, camel string. The profound isolation and exposure and Bertini’s uninterrupted connection with the country produces works, which contain something of the moment from which they are captured.

In an age of mobile phones, Facebook, Twitter and online dating, interactions in mediated environments often outnumber face-to-face encounters. Kiss is an interactive light artwork by artists Priscilla Bracks & Gavin Sade. Kiss reacts to people standing in front of the artwork looking at each other – the moment before kissing. Without interaction the work generates a seductive, ambient, red lighting display, which creates the restful sense of staring into a fire. A fleeting response of white light – like sparks flying in the air – occurs the moment before two faces touch. These sparks are visible in peripheral vision, but fade when the kissing couple turns to look at the work.
This moment – as two people look at each other – is a primal moment when two people recognise each other. Face to face encounters with another person are a privileged phenomenon in which the other person’s presence and proximity are strongly felt. Kiss does not respond to every instance of a kiss or a look. Its recognition algorithms are fussy, selecting some faces and not others. As in life it’s difficult to tell why sparks fly with some people but not with others. For some this will be felt as a glitch. “This machine should be part of my social life!” But it does promote trial and error, asking viewers to be intimate in public and look at each other for longer than otherwise socially normal. 10 minutes continuous eye contact is said in most cases to arouse sexual feelings in both parties.
But even if we don’t look that long, a short time may be all that is needed to explore the face of the person we are looking at. We see that they are human like us. We experience beauty, difference, discomfort, perhaps even nervous laughing, before turning to a more intimate moment of recognition.

SANTINA AMATO, ‘Dream Sweet’
Created in 2008, Dream Sweet is an early example of Santina Amato’s video installation/sculptures. The image of a woman running down a street in a white (wedding?) dress stimulates our curiosity. Is she running away from something or running to something? The woman seems to be hindered by big heavy army boots she wears on her feet. We watch the video as it is projected onto a diary sitting on a bedside table. The video flickers, sometimes slowing down to an abrupt halt as we watch as scenes are repeated, just as a dream may do. A scenario is created suggesting we may have entered into someone’s bedroom and potentially stepped into the dream of the owner of the bedside diary.

SANTINA AMATO, ‘Your future tense’
Your Future Tense brings together a toy designed for little girls to daydream of one day becoming a princess, with a poetry reading written by a lusty adult male to his Valentine. Amato has recreated an adult size version of toy maker Mattel’s, Princess Belle’s chair from Beauty And The Beast, inviting audience members to sit upon the princess chair. Once seated, a set of headphones allows the audience member to listen to a poetry reading of American poet John Fuller’s Valentine, whilst a transcribed video of the poem projects onto their lap. A scenario is created allowing for escapism into an intimate world of fairytale and fantasy.

My process of discovery and inventions are largely experimental as I satisfy my curiosity for working with new materials and often unconventional modes of manufacture. My reward is in removing the material from its common role of packaging and being able to transform what is intrinsically ugly into something beautiful.

THE MIRAGE PROJECT [Belleville] is an installation exploring space and volume, place and displacement, sight and site. Windows to another place are presented via medium format stereoscopic slides, overlaying a distant place into the ‘void’ of the gallery space.

This particular place is a 6th floor, 28sq/m, sub-let studio / apartment in Belleville, a dynamic working class quarter of Paris. It was south facing with wonderful light and moods. To me it represents the end of a 5 year period of living and working in France. Rundown from years of transient tenants, it is textured with memories, dreams and life. It is a domestic space wherein my closest relationships played out their quotidian intimacy as well as their transformative punctuations.

By transposing the artists studio apartment into the gallery the work plays off the tension between the artists’ intimate space and the forum for public exhibition.

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