Amelia’s Magazine | Exhibition: Arboreal

Located within the Regent Studios complex in Bethnal Green, Transition Gallery is run by artist Cathy Lomax. Exhibiting works in this small white box space by both emerging and established contemporary artists, Transition’s current show is called Arboreal, meaning to dwell or frequent the woods. Arboreal explores human relationships with the world.

All the works had the distinct looming of an incoming apocalypse; or perhaps that apocalyptic times were upon them already. On further inspection, maybe an apocalypse had wiped out humans completely, yet left everything else in its current, somewhat apparently shambolic state, in tact.

Decidedly sinister, Lee Maelzer’s series of nine archival digital prints depict a Christmas tree in various stages of dystopian disrepair; evoking an atmosphere of dark nostalgia. Maelzer’s Dead Tree is of a gnarled tree – desolate, foreboding and full with holes suggestive of gaping mouths in mid scream. Jo Wilmot’s works juxtapose the claustrophobia of a quiet life of domesticity and the claustrophobia of industry. Referring to expectations unfulfilled, Wilmot’s paintings are discomfiting. Tobi Deeson’s delicate looking flowers mass-produced out of cheap bed sheets are again an imitation of life. Deeson’s work hangs from the ceiling to sit above a mirror on the floor suggesting the narcissism of culture; the flowers seem to wilt, hovering between their artificial life and death. Made of cheap wooden panels and veneer, Debbie Lawson carefully characterises wolves in gorgeous puzzle-like carvings, which feel menacing and simultaneously gentle. Lawson explores the organic and natural in theory, versus the manmade imitation of nature with her medium.

Arboreal conveys a darkly hopeful world, the decline of society and it’s impact on the world at large. Humans are physically absent in the works by Tobi Deeson, Debbie Lawson, Lee Maezler and Jo Wilmot; yet the heavy bootprint of man – and subsequently, society’s – collision with nature is devastatingly obvious in the exploration of the organic versus the synthetic by the artists.

A nice exploration of the theme with a well-chosen selection of works, Arboreal is a lovely exhibition with a shadowy heart.

Categories ,Arboreal, ,exhibition, ,Sculpture, ,Transition Gallery

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