Charley Peters, Trade reviewed for Saturation Point
1 September 2014
In extolling the virtues of the un-extraordinary, Sol LeWitt wrote that “the most interesting characteristic of the cube is that it is relatively uninteresting.” Castor Projects’ inaugural exhibition, Trade, continues the idea of seeing the extraordinary in the everyday by bringing together a group of five contemporary artists with a shared interest in the sculptural qualities of low-grade industrial materials.
On first appearances, many works in Trade adhere to the conventions of minimalist sculpture through their favouring of plain, factory-made or found mass-produced materials. However, despite the use of raw materials and a consistent colour palette of monochrome and neutral hues, there is an unexpected, gentle humour displayed by several of the artists that adds an expressive content to the seemingly austere objects.
Alan Magee’s Return to Glory (2014) is a knowingly witty piece in which the artist seals up the holes in hula-hoops by filling them with plaster. Magee, along with Rachael Champion, provides the most light-hearted moments of Trade. Champion’s Naturally Occuring Brutalist Body (2013) is a bulging dome of pebble-dash that appears to grow from the gallery wall – challenging the boundaries of construction and organism, and providing an unavoidable reference to 1970s urban architecture.
Andy Wicks’ understated geometric forms are the most formally reductive works in Trade. His work has a literal presence, independent of the figurative references of (for example) Matt Blackler’s oversized cast-iron drill bit and the subtle real-world references of Magee, Champion and Matt Calderwood, shown physically making and remaking structures containing six blocks in his film Six Sculptures (2011).
A confident presentation of contemporary sculpture, Trade explores an implied minimalist abstract space within a wider vernacular of restrained figuration
Paul Carey-Kent Trade
30 August 2014
Castor Projects have co-opted a west end gallery during its summer close for their first exhibition, bringing together a group of artists who tweak the process of fabrication. Andy Wicks turns picture fittings into sculptural forms which confuse work and support; Alan Magee sort of repairs the holes in hula-hoops by filling them with plaster; Rachel Champion adapts pea shingle to the gallery environment; amd Matt Blackler magnifies a damaged drillbit into a mountainous precipice which is still the smallest piece in the show. Meanwhile Matt Calderwood’s 15 minute film sees him make and unmake versions of the monumental by rearranging six bricks in six ways via many - equally valid? - interim stages.