Review: Paul McDevitt’s Hunker Down

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There was a sense of nostalgia when Berlin based Lancaster alumnus, Paul McDevitt, returned to exhibit a collection of work entitled Hunker Down. The exhibition was influenced mainly by McDevitt’s time at the university, focusing on printing due to the lack of a publishing department on campus. Posters are spread across both floors of the Peter Scott Gallery, making the viewer look upwards, not around. The exhibition plays on the concept of repeated motifs, replicas of other artists’ work and “copies of copies,” influenced by greatly renowned artists such as John Ruskin and Piet Mondrian.

The speakers around the artwork play the sound of rainfall, again reminiscing fond memories of being a student at the university and the common occurrence of rain in the North West. McDevitt was interested in the science department, and visited it as a form of research helping him to produce the three posters named after the three sciences situated on the ground floor. The exhibition has a monochrome aesthetic yet the three eye catching images have a neon sheen to them which redirects the viewer from the large billboard poster in the centre of the exhibition. Many of McDevitt’s pieces seem to be experimental, for example using gold leaf on the screen prints found on the first floor, which McDevitt admitted was new to him in a talk for fine art students in the LICA department prior to the opening of the exhibition. By presenting work that could potentially still be in development or developed further, the viewer is presented with an insight to the way the artist works instead of viewing a collection of work that had been completed forcing an opinion or a certain aesthetic on the viewer. They are also presented with published books to scan through that coincide with the work presented on the walls, providing an interaction and an experience rather than a quick walk through. McDevitt works with various media and in different sizes helping capture the viewers attention and imagination.

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