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By Andrew Frost
Although Material Rites, a group show by seven COFA students who won the college’s annual Studio Excellence Award in 2012, has no theme as such, the title suggests a common interest among the artists in the nature of the materials they use in their work. The complications and implications of that interest is undoubtedly huge and the catalogue essay by Kate Britton cites Jacques Ranciere’s claim that aesthetics is as much a way of being as it is way of making art, and then, when separated from the maker, art is unavoidably strange.
The exhibition presents art that proposes an aesthetic question – how do we regard these works, and to what extent is the artist’s intervention with the materials shape our perceptions? Jack Stahel, Lisa Sammut and Gillian Lavery present variations on order, from strict to less strict, in sculpture, installation and work with fibre. Tom Mason’s neo-grunge work lets it all hang loose in contrast to Sophie Claque’s minimal metal work and Daniel Connell’s space-scape of standby lights. Angela Welyczko’s photograph of a medical waiting room is the most weightless of all being a recoding of a space separate to the gallery itself, yet one that is heavy with association and emotional significance, a weight belied by the banality of the image. If a conclusion can be drawn from these examples, then the meaning of materiality is a ghost.
Until October 20
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