'BRISTOL' opens in London
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‘BRISTOL’ is the latest exhibition at Peter von Kant’s London gallery, bringing together three very different artists. Though Martyn Cross, Brendan Lancaster and Andrew Mania are all based in Bristol, none feel a part of its art scene despite finding it conducive to making and showing work. Each relate more to the position of an outsider, the position of being detached from, rather than at the centre of, the action. In fact, aside from the fact of their coming from and/or living in Bristol now, this condition of remove is Cross, Lancaster and Mania’s strongest point of connection.
Martyn Cross recently participated in VASW’s Mentoring Programme, working with Peninsula Art’s Sarah Chapman. His work is populated with the ephemera of eccentric characters including a plastic bags, a hats and walking stick. Cross wanders the city in the manner of a twentieth century flaneur looking for people, places, and items of the everyday.
Brendan Lancaster’s abstract paintings allude to the presence of a humans as viewed on city streets, through window frames and muted, brooding domestic interiors. Using a smeared, blurred and muted palette, these references try to emerge via the detours, dead ends and changes of direction, uncovering painterly images that seem like they have arrived from nowhere.
Andrew Mania’s drawn portraits on wood couldn’t be more different. The simple handling of Mania’s portraits reflects the spontaneous impulsiveness of the youths they portray; idealised males are pictured expectant. They look moodily into the middle distance, gaze back at us alluringly or watch themselves admiringly in mirrors or phones.
Rather than determining an aesthetic or style for a whole city, ‘BRISTOL’ plucks the work of three artists whose works are stylistically so dissimilar, yet still promotes the diverse art practice of the place that they all live and work. The lack of visual kinship in ‘BRISTOL’ is founded on difference as opposed to similarity, something that makes Bristol and the visual arts in the South West so vibrant and interesting.
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