Joy meets innuendo – and what a match. AIR’s new exhibition D E T A C H E D is a fantastical medley of colour, quirk and energy where North West based artists Tina Dempsey and Garth Gratrix pull together their personal notions of joy into a peculiar pursuit of happiness.
As temporary collaborators they play with space in their own different ways, Garth has a more precise method of calculation – a 9 inch methodology filled with LGBT innuendo and minimalism. Whilst Tina’s fluid mark-making is both spontaneous and whimsical in her bubblegum-flavoured installation.
What they both have is a big giant rod of freedom to express themselves. They each create their own individualised suggestions of playfulness. They are free to “just be”. Their tongue-in-cheek abstractions are re-wired to play with purpose. Taking Garth’s vision of colour isn’t just a visual preference. Each colour has a double entendre – a named vision of what Garth has called the colour. The placement of each colour is then chosen on the basis of its name. Each 9 inch wood square becomes its own extraordinary character, it may have a gentle pink colour – aptly titled ‘Unicorn’, a muted blue is revealed as ‘Bachelors Button’ and a zippy Spring yellow ‘A Shoot of Happiness’. There’s a long list of names for each colour assigned to his pieces. For certain Tina’s own colour compositions next door align idealistically, yet in a more erratic, disorderly arrangement as her marks dance along the clean white AIR walls.
It’s this poke at the fluidity of identity that is conceptually intriguing. Garth and Tina want you to be whatever you want to be, either a sugar-coated mass of chaos or rainbow assembly of arrangement. A straight line or curly mess. There’s an open ended plethora of personality and character that can be shaped and shared to make-up a never-ending array of freedom and choice.
Tina and Garth’s artistic chemistry provides this framework – in their singular ways it’s a bit like they’re building the blocks of what makes a human being. Together they create a unique soul, non-discriminative, original, peculiar and fickle. Completely in tune with Tina’s hope to inspire a quiet revolution as an antidote for mass consumerism and Garth’s experimenting with the machismo of making – embedding queerness within the foundations and processes of his sculptural pieces.
Listen to Tina’s personally chosen tunes that inspire her feelings of joy or look closely at Garth’s ‘snake charmer’ and you’ll see the kinky (or kooky) dialogue happening right before you.
On until 6 April 2019
D E T A C H E D
30 Grosvenor Road