While everyone was sipping cheap wine and trying to see anyone famous I slipped into a talk by Artist Philip Bradshaw, as part of Firstsite's firstsite.uk.net Local artists programme. What did I find?
As you walk towards the café you are greeted by a large abstract painting - but hold on, what's that text in your eyeline? Is it part of the Show (YES)? With that one sentence Phil ironically echoes what people may be thinking, while also pointing the way to the café. So by placing the text there Phil is setting up a context for his painting, while also borrowing context from the rest of the gallery (and outside). The painting CC602 Yes,No,Yes,No (a reference to crosswords, but surely also to his Systems background) uses colours that link it to the surroundings - in particular the dark colour that matches an adjacent doorway. Thus he cleverly includes what would otherwise be an ugly doorway as part of the artwork. Maybe he over-emphasises context over enjoyment, which is why I prefer the scrolling text display above the door 'That's not what I meant' where seemingly hum-drum text dissolves into vivid bursts of colour. My Favourite piece is 'Failing to Communicate'
a double video installation (only half illustrated here) where the text quickly become abstract and you can lose yourself in the pure saturated colour. Simple pleasures, that's me!
Talking of which, off to the Mercury Theatre tonight (a few tickets still left mercurytheatre.co.uk then performing at Firstsite with local Morris dance side Annie's Fantasies anniesfantasies.co.uk at 11 am - see you there!
Many thanks to Philip Bradshaw and Jane of ENAS for their time, all artwork shown courtesy of the artist.