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Standing on the Frontier Vol 2

  • There's two things that instantly strike you about this show. One of them is the absolutely massive painting by the artist Robin Mason. It's not just big, it's absolutely gigantic. It feels like it's about a million metres wide, and all of it is wonderful.


    That's the first thing, the second is that the quality of work in the show is consistenly very very high, so all congratualations should go to the curators Noa Edwards and Takayuki Hara for sourcing such fine pieces. Each piece shows a bounty of thought and craftsmanship of the higeste calibre. These pieces are not just fancy ideas flung together, but quality ideas executed with precision.


    The premise of the show is that the images presented by the artists in this exhibition depict views taken on redifining the frontier between reality and the imagination. As the information about the show says all these artists have in common the ability to transform the imaginary into something tangible. So that the viewer is seduced into believing that the threshold between reality and the imagination can be bridged, into the newly found frontier. What more could you from a show that one that takes you into the realm of the imagination, that rips apart the blinds of reality.



    And what painting does this better than Robin Mason's huge painting 'Encounter' shown above. There are illusions and stories and intriguies in this painting to keep you guessng and analysing for hours on end, but beyond that it's rather beautiful and works powerfully on a visual level. The black and white sections contrast with the colourful passages and it's all thrown onto a sort of 3D stage. Looking closely it's hard to see how Robin practially managed to paint such a huge painting. From a distance it looks perfect but the question I wondered was how did he manage to keep all the prespective correct when painting such a pciture up close means you can't get to stand back far enough from the piece to see what's happening? Impressive technical skills! I also love the way there's the huge painting on the ground floor of the show - and a teeny tiny one in the same vein on the upper floor as shown below.



    As primarily an abstract artist myself I then really lilked Richard Starbuck's smallish abstract paintings with brightly coloured interconnecting shapes, one of which is shown below. They were painted very beautifully with nicely layered different colours of paint building up a superb quality of surface.



    And how could you miss the extraordinary pencil drawings by one of the curators Takayuki Hara, as shown below. There are so many gradations of black and grey that it's hard to realise that these pictures are really made with pencil. The dpeth of the black is in particular quite amazing. The one pictured below was my favourite as it had an eerie and potentially macabre feeling to it, like a contemporay Brother's Grimm fairy tale. I love the way one of the weird rabbits seems to be getting rescued from a bizaare venus fly-trap...




    There was also a nice variety of works in different media in the show, such as this great photo collage, below, by Charlotte Bracegirdle. It's a weird pcture as you feel as if the photos are all of the same man turning around although they can't be. But the sense of movement is cool. 







    Then once again the general quality of the pieces showed though with a work like this one, pictured below, by the other curator Noa Edwards. I like the way he used collaged elements, paint, dark room processes and digital softeware to create strange imagined landscapes.





    There are numerous other great pieces of work in the show - but not enough space or time here to go into them all. But this strange teddy bear by Chiho Iwase is maybe a cool way of looking at the show as it's obviously a teddy but the resin it's made from gives this magical childhood toy a strange solidity and affirmation in reality, as if it's crept out of someone's imagiantion into the world and and into form.


    A stunning show - let's hope for Standing on the Frontier Vol 3!


    Review by Robert Dunt - Artist and Founder of