Sam Shendi, whose current show Souls is residing at the FYC gallery as part of the Venn Projects curatorial steering, is a mass of contradictions. The contradictory aspect of the show is in fact is a key to its success.

The bright and, at first viewing, superficial work is in fact full of depth and the directness of the primary colours have a resonance beyond their initial impact. A series of compacted metal may be a mundane media yet it has an allure beyond its material.

The award winning sculptor, Shendi, creates in Souls a series of oblong sculptures from crushed metal which are then painted vivid eye-blasting colours. It’s a very attractive series of work on a purely visual level, but it is when one spends a little time with the sculptures that the real strength of the works surface.

Within the formal setting of the FYC’s white cube gallery space Shendi’s works offer a reflective experience that once entered into allows the inner tales of the sculptures to speak. The harsh lines and jagged metal cube-like shapes start to morph into forms within the folds of the work. Light which shines off the hard gloss finish alter the sculptures into masses of faces; the first thing the human mind tries to form from any unresolved shapes. It’s an arresting experience to see these faces appear. Our brains fill in the gaps and create these ‘souls’ that the show seeks to explore.

The use of colour is very particular in the work, as primal responses to the garish tones augment our experience. With the meditative approach that Shendi hopes we will use to view the work, comes an inner interaction as we are drawn to the ever-shifting forms.

We are almost as important as the work with our part of the viewing. This is true of course of most art, the viewer gets as much as they put into the work, but Shendi’s work has an immediacy that almost drags the eye into and around the pieces.

It’s an assured collection of work that speaks of the confidence of both the artist’s message and his faith in his work. It is this confidence which gives you an innate understanding of your place in the exchange of viewer and object/art. You will almost automatically take your time to view and interact with the work. It’s a must see and a great success for the FYC.

Souls is on at the FYC Gallery on Church Street until 6 June.

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