Review: Dumb Shadow at Supercollider

A Supercollider show is always a good night; a good mix of people and heady conversation buzzes through the Cookson Street gallery space, while ubiquitous plastic glasses of wine are consumed. The work on show always sits confidently among the discourse, even if it sometimes leave you scratching your head in confusion. The current show, Dumb Shadow, isn’t one that falls into this category.

Billed by the curator, Tom Ireland, as a ‘traditional painting and sculpture show’, you would be foolish to think that it was going to be simply that! Tom has been programming Supercollider for nearly forty shows now, and his eclectic eye for national quality show selections has always been one step to the side and we should be thankful for that. Traditional is a word that he has his own definition for, so it was with interest that I went to see what Supercollider’s take on the word would be.

It’s all about surface; the work, the gallery space, the ethos of the night and show all are ways of viewing and experiencing surface. The Cookson Street gallery’s windows are now tinted with a darkening laminate.  This work by artist James Parkinson uses air bubbles to turn the windows into a stellar scene of organic forms. Like walking through a Petrie-Dish of micro-organisms, the windows set the tone before you even enter the gallery. Parkinson exhibits inside as well with ‘Alter with finger’, a wall mounted Lycra and print work which almost demands you touch it.

Menna Cominetti’s wall works are mesmeric blocks of surface, texture and tone.  You find yourself lost within the minimalist landscape and her wall-mounted sculpture, ‘Comfort Imprint’, is the perfect counterpoint to the formality of her painted work. The works that I personally enjoyed the most in the show had to be the Sebastian Jefford video and sculptural assemblages. A car tyre endlessly reverses over a snow tread creating a möbius loop of imprint.  It’s simple, stark but quite charming. Charming is also the word for his two sculptural works. Garlic shaped pots and magnetic slug-like objects cling to surfaces. Jefford’s colourful wax batons and objects bring a sharpness to the space in small flashes of shape and texture. If you are in Blackpool and want to see some great work that will challenge you, get over to view the show, it’s worth the trip.

So, another Supercollider show exceeds expectation. I am a critical admirer of what this gallery offers I admit. Not everything they show is to my taste but whatever show they exhibit is always a solid conceptual adventure. With an open show looming, I look forwards to seeing how they curate a body of work not specifically programmed for the space. Whatever happens, a plastic glass of wine and good company will be guaranteed.

Dumb Shadow runs until 30 November.

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