From horse drawn carriages on the promenade to donkey rides across the beach, Blackpool has always played host to equestrian residents. From the 21st of October, Abingdon Studios gained some temporary, artistic neigh-bours.
Ride Your Pony (No.4), curated by Marie Jones, Garth Gratrix & Kerry Tenbey is an interdisciplinary exhibition showing works by 26 international artists. The brief for works asks each participating artist to create work that responds to a letter of the alphabet chosen in ‘lucky dip’ style.
On the preview evening I chatted to Reece Adair about his work, which depicts the form of a kneeling body stretched backwards so far as to appear headless. Adair advised that for Ride Your Pony he wanted to create work that adhered to his current artistic concerns. Adair frequently produces oil paintings that depict the injured body, extended and sprawled across dark vacuous backgrounds. On receiving his letter ‘Q’, Adair took to the thesaurus. His title Quietus is defined as ‘death or something that causes death, regarded as a release from life’. Release seems certain to be on the mind of his uncomfortable subject.
In the same room, just 4 or 5 steps along from Adair’s dark vision, sits a rather more vivid piece. FloW/21, Sam Owen Hull’s response to the letter W is a colourful amalgamation of acrylic paint, textiles, canvas and paper, which draws its inspiration from urban signage and graffiti. This work is plush, sculptural and fun. Within it the letter W emerges, although it appears to have been pushed over, its lines toppling over one another like a house of cards.
The concept of this exhibition lends a lot of individuality to its artists. Moving throughout the gallery space, stark contrasts between themes and practices are refreshing rather than disjointed. Aida sits by latex, glasswork by woven metal. Rosalie Wood’s short film ‘T’ depicts the horrors of bathing in turtle neck jumpers (that’s some real Halloween terror) whilst Joseph Cotgrave’s mirror tiles celebrate the intimacies of spaces such as clubs, gay saunas or toilets. Although small, the rooms are laden with treasures so if you plan on visiting the exhibition give yourself a little extra time to look around. Ride Your Pony is well worth it – and that’s straight from the horse’s mouth!
Header image: O: Oooo – Hannah Dinsdale
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