Drawing A Conclusion

Hell Gallery, 5A Railway Place, Richmond, June–July 2008
Ernesto Burgos, Nadine Christensen, Matthew Delege, Anthony Farrell, Torben Giehler, Lily Hibberd, Chris LG Hill, Heidi Linck, Nick Mangan, Rob Mchaffie, Ola Vasiljeva, Gabriella Mangano & Silvana Mangano, curated By Danny Lacy

This small, neat show of interesting work seems like just the thing to capture something of a common thread in current art practices. At the same time, there’s something strange about the way it successfully registers this without any exaggerated curatorial statement or other pretence. Strange in the sense that it’s a business-as-usual kind of exhibition, but without any of the awkwardness or amateurism that you come to expect of emerging art related activity, even your own.

As for the work, post-formalist patterning in thin lines of fun-but-muted colours, muddy off-red and off-yellow monochromes, slow detailed pencil drawings, and watercolours of sticks and rocks and aristocratic children are represented. Then there’s bits of text – graffiti sampled in landscapes or song lyrics – and black and white pen drawings in a comic book style, and in general a lot of blank paper. Two sculptures, squashed-face doll with a leg in plaster cast, and a monochrome which doubles as a bench complete the show.

Apart from the expected variety and style of the selection, even the title seems to hint at cultural context in a slightly procedural way. It might go something like: ‘these works are testimony to continuation of the practice of “drawing” – now a euphemism for experimentation – with and against past forms and subjects, regardless of a generalised pathos at the end of modernity.’ Whatever it may really refer to, the presentation of a cool selection of works with a serious lack of affect seems to be the real intention. This professionalism is all the more noticeable at Hell Gallery, a ramshackle peter-pan house by the train tracks, with a perfect little white cube for a heart.
Michael Ascroft


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