April Art Round-Up

April 6, 2011

Spring has sprung and in a cliche, so has the art world! In particular craft and design. It’s enough to make you dig out the sharp scissors, whip out a blow torch, reprogramme your iPhone and lay on the office photocopier.

Burning Light – The Art House

In Wakefield, The Art House has a solo exhibition by Julia Bickerstaff matching up old, tarnished objects with the crispest neon lights; newly produced glass rods breaking up the idea we all might have of neon as outmoded form of communication or a tacky takeaway glare. Until 19 May.

I’m Electric You’re Electric – Manchester Craft and Design Centre

Hop over to Manchester to catch ‘I’m Electric You’re Electric’ by neon artist Richard Wheater, a ‘body of gas filled hot glass sculpture’ the result of a performative process where Wheater has allowed an audience to watch him work in the past, bettering his skills with every bend and blow of the glass. Manchester’s Craft and Design Centre have commissioned five new works by the artist, using traditional techniques, literally blown into a contemporary light. Until 30 April.

Andy Singleton – Liberty

Catch a beautiful glimpse of the North in astoundingly complicated folded paper birds and forests by artist/illustrator Andy Singleton of Wakefield. Following a Craft Council Commission he’s installed a mini-show of his work in the window of Liberty’s Stationary Room, Carnaby Street London.

Human Error – Chinese Art Centre

Scan yourself on a giant photocopier in one of the Chinese Art Centre’s large scale works. They’re inviting visitor collaboration and you aren’t breaking the rules. Design collective Household and Dario Utreras raising big questions over how much reliance we have on everyday technology to perform daily tasks, and how angry we get at the slightest failing. Quick to blame the machine not the user, right? ‘Human Error’ continues until April 30.

Matthew Darbyshire - Billboard Projects

You might not have spotted The Billboard Project at Leeds Train Station, now on its fourth and final ‘ad’. It’s played host to a cycle of work by artists each granted access to its large scale presence and the collossal passing trade of commuters. Matthew Darbyshire has pasted up something emotionally evocative, involving the lovable Andrex puppy and a slogan harking back to the 80’s youth culture, evoking the style of HIV campaigns engineered to snap people out of foolish innocence. Darbyshire’s work also points to a concern that the politics of the 80’s is creeping back into the UK. The presentness of the billboard in Leeds Station in all its candy-coloured sweetness says the fight is not over. Interestingly I passed through Leeds Train Station without ‘seeing’ it either. #Advertisingvictim.

Juneau - Ceri Hand Gallery

Keeping an 80′s perspective, Juneau Projects have opened a show at Ceri Hand Gallery in Liverpool called 3 Megabytes of Hot RAM. Watercolour paintings of computers named ‘Jaguar’, human and naturalistic impressions of complicated wired systems and data transfer machines. A huge main installation ‘Data Haven’, quite ominously suspended from the gallery ceiling, present the artists sketches via a web of technology out of our reach in safe haven for information, away from hackers. This is their first UK solo show for the prolific artistic duo who re-construe use of technology from pixelation, mixed circuitry through to musical composition.
From 8 April – 21 May 2011

Galvanise Sheffield – Sheffield (city-wide)

Craft and Design doesn’t get hotter than the citywide showcase delivered by Galvanise Sheffield, where Silversmiths have fine-tuned the making of cutlery to heavier engineering. There are brilliant examples of work scattered all over the steel city right now. A festival of Contemporary Metal putting the shine back on what Sheffield practitioners still do brilliantly.

Knowledge Lives Everywhere - FACT Liverpool

There’s a similar remastering of technology in process at FACT Liverpool where ‘Knowledge Lives Everywhere’ is less an exhibition and more a situation for public access, input and collaboration. One gallery offers a giant interactive game, and another will let people make guerilla interventions, exhibitions, talks and film screenings, with input from electronic artists Hive Collective. Until 25 June.

Huang Yong Ping - Nottingham Contemporary

Walk into the body of a real American spy plane with stuffed bats hanging in the damaged cockpit! It’ll be installed at Nottingham Contemporary within a major exhibition by Huang Yong Ping, a leading Chinese artist with grand scale sculptures toying with political symbolism, diplomatic crisis and morality. In terms of the first European presentation of ‘Bat Project IV we can comprehend how imagery has extensive double meaning, bats as a bad omen in Western culture or good luck in China. Ping is a fascinating artist constructing ambitious work in terms of scale, material and capacity for showing international political conflict. From 15 April  - 26 Jun 2011.

Jane Faram, Arts Editor


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