Impermanent Durations: On Painting and Time Review


Impermanent Durations’ strikingly unconventional appearance, may at first glance be challenging to interpret, however, once submersed within the works, the intent of the artists begins to show.  Compiled of four international artists work, the exhibition has toured internationally, adapting to each gallery to observe paintings relationship within time and space. As the nature of time is inherently a complex concept to grasp, I entered this exhibition with an open and inquisitive mind.

Credit to Olivia Marsh

Following the natural pathway around the gallery, the first thing I noticed about the work was its presentation, with most pieces being on paper, loosely pinned to the gallery walls, creating interesting shadows on the floors and walls of the gallery. This impermanent and imperfect presentation of work and consequent use of shadow, immediately made me slow my pace around the gallery.

In a panel talk prior to the exhibition, contributing artist David Thomas emphasised the necessity of visitors of the exhibition to take their time when viewing the artworks, noting that traditional galleries viewers spend only 4-7 seconds per artwork.  It was only after having spent time in the exhibition, exploring the stairwell and artificial pillars and observing the relationship between the upper balcony of work, and the lower floor that I began to understand how the work reacted to the space, and the possibilities of simplistic and minimalistic paintings to respond to a space.

I also found that by exploring the exhibition slowly, I could see the smaller quirks and eccentricities of the individual artists work, as whilst this piece Is a collaborative exhibition, it is fundamentally different artists response to a space and subject. For example, the creased corners of Beth Harland’s work and Ian Woo’s unconventional selection of media, each highlight the own artists styles and interests, whilst also contributing to the exhibitions neutral colour palette.

Credit to Olivia Marsh

Another element which stood out to me across the exhibition was its contrasting use of greys and colour around the room. Contrary to greys traditionally dull and bland connotations, the artists in this exhibition emphasises the complexity and variety of colours used creating the colour of grey, further emphasising the use of shadow in the exhibition.

If you are someone less interested in a wider concept, and more in the aesthetic qualities of the work, this exhibition still bears much to hold.  The exhibition also consists of stunning, mixed media tapestry style collages, aspects of which could be easily replicated as decorative pieces for rooms or households.

At the end of the day my best advice would be go to the exhibition, take your time, and be open minded to the playful quirks of the individual pieces, and the works collectively. Consider how your perception of the works changes as you move throughout the room and how this develops overtime. But basically, just enjoy it and see what you can take from your visit.

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