Everyday Illusions explores the relationships that we form with our surrounding environment: from the spaces that we inhabit to the objects that fill it. The artists in this exhibition use a variety of approaches to construct and destruct illusions of reality. The exhibition includes Hermione Allsopp, shortlisted for Mark Tanner Sculpture Award 2013; Conor Rogers, shortlisted for John Moores Painting Prize 2014, and Eleanor Watson, shortlisted for Cynthia Corbett’s Young Masters Arts Prize 2014.
Through collecting and photographing domestic objects from charity shops, Hermione Allsopp’s collages inform her sculptural practice and affect the way in which she interacts with the objects. Hermione re-creates the objects into new forms or compositions and explores how the home or house links to the body and mind. The space between things can be seen as a place of uncertainty or indecision: a space of transition. For Hermione, the charity shop object occupies this place, awaiting reuse or death as refuse or trash. Similarly, Rachel Wrigley uses photographic imagery taken from glossy magazines to manipulate, deconstruct, and distort the architecture and objects that are depicted within them. In undertaking this process, she invents new forms and provides a distorted version of reality, investigating space as a moveable, impermanent fixture.
Through drawing, both Carole Cluer and Alan Baker invite the viewer to create narratives around the work. Carole Cluer’s work explores whether it is possible to create memories through the act of drawing. Carefully drawn from her imagination, various ephemera give weight to the unreal through trompe l’oeil style effects. Carole constructs an alternative future or past within various objects such as a hat, a coat or a wallet, each meticulously recreated by hand in pencil. Similarly, Alan Baker creates sculptural assemblages from objects kept around the house that are intended to trap animals. He then documents these items through the process of drawing. As part of his Trap and Snare series, Alan captures the tension between each of the delicately poised objects, exploring the boundary between where wild animals become domesticated or agricultural.
For Everyday Illusions, Michelle Rheeston-Humphreys will produce a site-specific work. The installation of the piece will camouflage into the surrounding environment of the gallery. Inspired by the overlooked and ordinary, her trompe l’oeil style works address various themes of paradoxical realism; by exploring the wonder of encountering objects and images that twist our expectations, Michelle creates temporary, fragile realities or truths -- just stable enough to convince the viewer of their materiality.
Painting directly onto found objects such as beer mats and cigarette packets, Conor Rogers’ photo-realistic depictions of everyday life emerge from an ‘argument’ between the illusionism of the image and the substrate of the paintings. However, Conor relates the place the object was found to the scene depicted, creating an entwined narrative between object and image. In contrast, Eleanor Watson paints empty spaces allowing for the room and its contents to set a scene for stories. The objects described in varying detail are given a similar weight to props on an empty stage, retaining a likeness to the printed image.
Jenny Steele’s screen prints reflect on modernist sea front buildings from the North West of England; such as Blackpool Casino and Pleasure Beach, The Midland Hotel in Morecambe and New Brighton Palace in the Wirral. Jenny is fascinated by these examples of grandiose seaward looking architecture built in the 1930’s mid war leisure boom, when the coast was envisaged as a holiday utopia away from everyday toils.
The artists presented in Everyday Illusions offer varying insights into ways of working with the familiar, the uncanny, the everyday, the banal, and illusionism; creating and changing objects and spaces to demonstrate their ideas and thoughts.