Field Trip

Located in the heart of London, Display Gallery provides a platform for interdisciplinary collaborations by hosting exhibitions, workshops, talks and events. The intention of this young commercial gallery is to support emerging and early career artists through predominantly group shows from which to build new networks. Their recent exhibition ‘Field Trip’ brought together nine young artists, encompassing painting, mono-prints, drawings, photographs and sculptures.

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The thematic carries the impulsive desire for expedition, exploration and discovery of new techniques as the artists move away from the familiar, well-trodden paths of their existing practices to experiment with new techniques and processes. However with no evidence of their practice before ‘the trip’, it is unclear from where the artist has moved, metaphorically or physically, in order to produce this new work.

The notion of the journey is something that many artists, writer and thinkers have employed in the past, in order to find new inspiration. Paul Klee noted that ‘a line is a dot that went for a walk,’ suggesting the unavoidable transformations that a trip, no matter how long will bring. This freedom of limitations is particularly evident in the work of Jack Towndrow, whose colourful, abstract landscape paintings convey a sense of gestural urgency.

The other strong examples of painting in the show, as the title would suggest, speak of the study of landscape and its origins in traditional still life, but reworked to become abstract variations and interpretations of this theme. Furthermore, these works give reference to the traditional En plein air (in the open air) approach, evident in the large loosely pinned sheets of paper from Jenny Forster and Jonah Gebka, as if rolled up and carried to the gallery from their site of production.

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A small, dimmed room in the basement is lit only with a few spotlights. Although the work in here is not as strong as the main space, it does convey the more personal and intimate responses to the thematic. In contrast to the freedom of mark making in other work, Becky Allen’s quietly methodical drawings and etchings provide a monochrome distinction in a show of bold marks and colour.

Of the nine artists, I found Jonah Gebka’s Helsinki Drawing of particular note; in the child-like medium of coloured pencil, a detailed drawing, partially rubbed away, leaves traces of a narrative journey in the countryside. This delicate, poignant piece suggests faded memories and places of the past.

The coherent thread of nature and journey in this exhibition, interspersed with fantasy, imagination and dreams, provides rich ground from which to create a diverse body of work from this group of promising young artists.

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Display Gallery, Morley House, Holborn Viaduct, London, EC1A 2AQ

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