Tower Hamlets Spring Open
Tower Hamlets Spring Open is a survey of the large and diverse artist community living or working in the borough of Tower Hamlets. Held in the 5000sqft Mile End Art Pavilion, the exhibition is selected and curated by Iavor Lubomirov and Anna Bleeker of ALISN, William Hughes of Angus-Hughes Gallery, Charlie Dutton of Charlie Dutton Gallery, and Paul Good and Kirsty Wood of SHIFT.
ALISN invited artists living or working in Tower Hamlets to submit work with a particular emphasis on large-scale ambitious projects, sculptures, or installations in all mediums, including performance, video, sound and photography. The resulting selection reveals a range of unexpected undercurrents, with much of the work resonating particularly with the architecture of the borough and the gallery.
Christina Mitrentse is a Greek artist, living and working in London, with a studio in Tower Hamlets. She took her MA at Chelsea in 2004. Her work has been included in public and private international collections, including the Tate Archive, the Greenwich Heritage Museum, the Zabludowicz Foundation and the Onassis Foundation. Mitrentse’s sculpture at the Pavilion, ‘Beethoven versus Mozart’, is part of an on-going project ‘Add to my Library’, in which books from her collection are Twisted and stuck together to create organic, yet architectural structures of small scale ‘Podiums’, ‘Tombs’, ‘Plinths’ and ‘Bibliophile’ collages or Fungies.
Eve Allen is currently completing her Fine Art BA at Saint Martins. Her work uses and reuses photographs of domestic interiors and fragments of buildings as source material for evoking memory and a sense of the uncanny inherent in represented space. Her print work, ‘Staircase Going Down’, at the Pavilion, relates to architectures that don't fulfil their function and undermine what they are supposed to be.
Gareth Barnett is currently completing his MA at Saint Martins, having moved to Tower Hamlets from Birmingham. Quoting references such as Conrad Jameson’s branding of modern architects as 'war criminals', Gareth engages Brutalist Dystopia as the setting of the perfect horror film. His 16 panel, 70sqft, wall piece from the series ‘Brut Camp’ explores feelings of control and domination within the urban environment. It is made from a mixture of pencil drawing, xeroxed drawings and concrete rubbings taken from the Balfron Estate in East London, a original Brutalist site designed by Erno Goldfinger.
Harry Meadows took his MFA at Goldsmiths in 2007 and has since shown at the Barbican, the BBC Big Screens and the Royal Festival Hall. Meadows works from a post-historical perspective informed by Russell Hoban’s 'Riddley Walker' and William Morris’s 'News From Nowhere', combining relics of design with an irreverence for ideology. His videowork ‘News From Nowhere’ reads like a contemporary take on Manet blended with the aesthetic of a games console screen saver. The peculiar cultural character which he creates offers the viewer a reflective catharsis challenging nostalgic identity.
Julia Crabtree and William Evans are the founders of the influential 10,000sqft James Taylor Gallery. Created as a respite from the traditional "white cube", JTG have been providing a non-commercial platform for emerging artists and curators to engage in ambitious large-scale projects inside a sprawling Victorian warehouse. Their response to the Pavilion takes the form of a disruptive sound-art intervention investigating the sculptural potential of sound within the architecture of the space. Scattered speakers placed facing the ceiling, emit evolving sounds of water drops, while suggesting themselves as containers for collecting the invisible leaks thus created in the gallery’s underground structure.
Lee Holden took his MFA from Reading in 1999. Lee Holden’s work deliberately draws out the normally suppressed connections between areas such as drug abuse, violence, homelessness, poverty and unemployment. For the Pavilion Lee Holden will produce a site-specific artwork responding to the powerful quotidian influence of contemporary mainstream culture, focusing in particular on media-coerced psychosis fed on emotional well-being needs. Utilising found materials and audio video footage, Holden aims to disturb any apparent sense of calmness within the Pavilion and its park surroundings.
Lorna Pridmore studied Fine Art at the John Cass in Tower Hamlets' Metropolitan University. Her work centres on the use of everyday found objects, which tend to have clear masculine or feminine connotations. Her evolving, conceptual sculpture ‘Untitled’ is made from a growing mass of hairgrips, thus incidentally using the language of quantity and volume which the space imposes, whilst also remaining one of the smallest objects in the exhibition.
Lucy Tomlins is currently in the first year of her Sculpture MA at the Royal College. Her apparently light-hearted entry 'Made, unmade, remade', draws on the domestic to ask questions about the slippery boundary between the functional and artistic. The work takes as its starting point the remaking of a grinder for seeds, grains and spices: a tool that has remained rudimentary, simple and functional throughout the centuries.
Mark Selby took his MFA in Sculpture from Wimbledon in 2008. His work explores the methods, symbols and structures through which we communicate, using sculpture, installation and film and ranging from hand-made, DIY parodies of technology-based products, to creating entire fictional spaces. In this exhibition Mark presents his sculpture ‘Listen To Me’, a skewed piece of domestic reality with defunct megaphones, and a video work ‘Beacon’ which centres itself around a well known suicide spot in Cornwall.
Rab Harling took his MA in Photography from LCC in 2010 and is currently interested in concepts of commodity reflected in billboards, particularly empty ones. His work is a large piece of photographic wall-paper of a haunting Tower Hamlets cityscape from his series ‘Abandon Your Dreams’.
Toby Poolman originally trained as a furniture designer and has worked as a skilled carpenter on buildings conservation for the British National Heritage. In 2009 he took his MFA in Sculpture from Bath with distinction and has since moved to London with his narrowboat, which is often moored in Regents Canal in Tower Hamlets. In the Spring Open he engages the landscaped setting of the space with a site-specific, interactive installation. Titled ‘Three Dunes’, the work creates artificial sand dune structures inside a 100sqft area of the Pavilion.
Venue: Mile End Art Pavilion, Grove Road, Mile End Park, E3 4QY
Artists' Reception: Wednesday 30 March 6 - 9pm
Exhibition Dates: Friday 1 April to Saturday 9 April
Open: Tue to Fri 6 - 8 pm, Sat & Sun 2 - 8 pm
Photographs by Sarah Wyld:
Abandon Your Dreams
Listen To Me
News From Nowhere
News From Nowhere (detail)
Julia Crabtree and William Evans
Three Dunes (detail)
Three Dunes (detail)
Julia Crabtree and William Evans
Staircase Going Down
Beethoven vs Mozart (detail)
Made Unmade Remade (detail)
Made Unmade Remade
(Mark Selby, Harry Meadows, Gareth Barnett)