Antlers Gallery Launch Review: Anatomy

After a dark day of cloud and torrential rain, I’m walking down Park Street on a pleasantly turned around sunny Saturday evening.  In a dis-used shop space on the high street, Antlers Gallery launches their latest collective, under the umbrella theme of Anatomy.  There’s a nice buzz spilling out onto the pavement outside and we’re greeted by a light and spacious venue.

Antlers, is a gallery that wonders around filling the empty spaces of Bristol with their creations.  I first witnessed them in the flesh at Cabot Circus and have since also seen them at Colston Hall’s “Made in Bristol” art market.

Once again a great show, they all stood out for different reasons.   I don’t like to read about an Artist before I go to see a show, actually I often don’t read about them afterwards either as I like to have my own take on it.  Now though, after a few stop off’s at Antlers, I’ve visited the website and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed reading about those of which have come out as my favourites.

It may well be wrong in the eyes of the Artists but that’s how I like to do it.  I’ve no art training or background whatsoever, so I haven’t any “learnt” behaviour in terms of reviewing.  But I do know that I hate to be told what thoughts or feelings I should attach to something, anything.  So, with that in mind, the strong impressions I formed from this show are…

The wonderfully strange mind of Mr Mead (I like that he uses Mr Mead, it gives it a kind of formality and respectability in these days of laid back, sofa drinking, cool culture), draws me in every time.

His works are intricate with what I see as a splash of dark humour.  I can actually imagine meeting one of his fictional characters (which I’ve now learned are the stuff of his memories and nightmares, linked with an old film.  The characters apparently are “a blend of animal, human and mechanic” but I’ll let you discover him in your own way) in a kind of futuristic, Dickensian back street in London.  I personally don’t find them dark scary but rather dark in tone with a bit of Ray Caesar and Tim Burton about it.  I’m a big fan of “Sleeve McCatney”.  I love the fact that he’s got a tracksuit top on, that’s the detail that fascinates me the most, like a kind of scary Liam Gallagher.  But hey, that’s just me…

I managed to get hold of the pack of cards he’s produced this time (he had sold out last time).  The deck depicts his characters.  Our Framer had already had in mind to frame them up for display in our new workshop (when it’s finally built!).

For me Rose Sanderson’s works of birds that have passed away, are full of soul.  I love the distressed looking backgrounds.  I brought one of these prints in fact.  Much to the amusement of my friends, who nick named me weird Alice for the evening.  I like them a lot and that’s another for the new workshop!  They are very delicate and thoughtful, which is just about how I feel at the moment, perhaps that’s why I relate to them.  (Oh dear, deep maaan).  I also loved the series of works drawn or painted onto old book covers.  My favourite was the Nurses Dictionary with a body organ painted onto it.

I enjoyed trying to work out how long it must have taken Alexander Korzer-Robinson to complete the pieces!  I love the technicality of the “book art” more than anything.  It’s like a kind of everso slightly disturbing twist on decoupage.  He uses actual old books and sort of hollows out bits of text and images to reveal layers that seem to relate to one another.  It changes the “story” or original intention of the book.  It’s very very clever and must have taken ages to complete.

According to Antler’s Director, Jack Gibbon, after his recent TV mention on the Culture Show, his work has become even more in demand, so he had to make four new ones especially for this show!

Ellie Coates’ frames were what struck me first of all, then, when I saw the strange and mythical subjects, beautifully drawn, I was hooked!  I’m a massive fan of re-used old frames at the moment.  I love the clash of eras.  It’s currently quite fashionable to do so but it really makes a statement, especially when the artwork has that Victoriana feel to them.

Banksy did it brilliantly at the Bristol Museum show.  Although, one in particular I seem to remember, made comment to the sometimes, quite frankly preposterous and outrageous snobbery and pricing within the art world, but that’s a whole other can of worms!

Anyway, the work titled “Chrysaor” is still stuck firmly in my memory.  A body of works I would like to explore further actually.  I also loved the Medusa book.

The final Artist I much enjoyed was Tim Lane.  Wow, what skill!  I could look at this all day.  I do love pieces that each time you look at them you see something else that you’ve either missed or forgotten.   The level of detail is amazing!  I prefer the black and white works.  I particularly like “The Grand Inquisitor” and “The Price of Fame”.

Bringing it back to the framing then, which is of course the major reason for this blog.  I must say it was really refreshing to see everything well framed for a change!  Whether they were reclaimed frames or framed from scratch by a Framer (which I believe most or all are), I shake their hands (virtually).  As you will know, sadly I’m often so let down by great artworks being shoved in crap frames.  Well done Antlers, you’ve restored my faith (for a while anyway)!

Now, because my camera didn’t seem to want to work whilst I was there, you will have to visit their site for some of the pictures.  It’ll give you a feel anyway.

My recommendation is to get down there and give a look before it finishes at the end of July.  Intrigued to see what they come up with for the next one.

Location: 2 Park Street, BS1 5HS.

Exhibition dates: 9 – 31 July, 11-7 daily

Artists: Alexander Korzer-Robinson, Ellie Coates, Laura Wady, Mr Mead, Rose Sanderson, Ryan Hodge

Website: antlersgallery.com

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