Low Plane Reality presents three positions reflecting a range of artistic practice in Glasgow today. The three exhibiting artists share an interest in the symbolic nature of the materials with which they work and with the extra-aesthetic – socio-political, ethical and historical – implications of their use. In their individual practices they seek to visualise the structural conditions underpinning the production of art today while also retaining a poetics of form that is both personal and able to communicate to an external audience. The presentation and installation of their work is, therefore, an important consideration for all three artists. In this exhibition wall and floor based works will be combined in conversation with each other and with the space of the gallery. The depiction and use of objects (in the works of Gault and Gertz) and the reflected, and reflexive, surfaces of the works by Clements and Gault will be purposefully arranged to guide visitors to the exhibition on a journey of engagement, opening spaces for thought and for a different type of attention.
Neil Clements’ use of aluminium treadplate reflects upon artists’ authorial identification with industrial materials, and the problems that such strategies present. The treadplate’s repeated pattern acts for him as a form of watermarking, not unlike that used to assert proprietary rights for digital images. The collective title used for this body of works, Riser, refers to a class of theatrical devices, designed to elevate or better make visible a subject. Two of the works displayed in this exhibition are to-scale facsimiles of abstract artworks that no longer exist: a shaped canvas by the British painter Jeremy Moon, owned by the British Council and subsequently lost during the Iranian Revolution of 1978 and 1979; and a sculpture by the American artist Anne Truitt, destroyed in a car crash shortly after its inclusion in an exhibition in Dayton, Ohio in 1968. The reproduction of these objects is akin to an act of reverse engineering, while their selection is intended to highlight how formal abstraction operates in a complex web of socio- political conditions, despite its claims to be resistant to such forces.
Lauren Gault is interested in exploring how an activity, acute materiality, intent or attitude can be held or suspended within an object and be interrogated/replayed in new time. This approach acts as a way of understanding how objects and materials can be communicative or intangible or impossible encounters facilitated via the object/materials elastic relationship with other systems including time, geography and environment. In this exhibition perspex tanks filled with water will be placed on the gallery floor. Inside and on top of the tanks are placed various objects chosen for what Gault calls their performative materials. These include vessels made from blown glass which the artist sees as capturing a breathed moment, a sense of growth and emergence. In their making these objects become themselves in a process of slow time. Gault’s reflective and translucent surfaces are involved in a play of visual fields, absorbing and taking in their surroundings. She creates moments of material fluidity in her object-like structures – boundaries and edges become less discernible and more fluid.
The works of Lotte Gertz form a developmental series. She employs a variety of techniques, combining monotype, wood block printing, collage and autograph work in paint and ink. She repudiates a hierarchy of materials and works on un-stretched fabrics such as calico and linen, and on Japanese paper. Hers is a material practice with its own specificities of method and semiotic processes. She is interested in trace, gesture and the facsimile. Her images have their origins in items found close at hand within her immediate surroundings, the everyday and the overlooked. They often have, or had, a domestic function and some are ancient tools – objects of accumulated time whose roots travel back to a vast preceding cultural community. Other recurring images derive from letters of the alphabet which Gertz uses for both their formal and their poetic and allusive aspects. Gertz’s images encompass what Norman Bryson describes in his book ‘Looking at the Overlooked’ as low plane reality. They seek to reestablish an aesthetics of beauty within the realm of human trash, to find the truth of human life in the ordinariness of daily routine and the anonymous creatural life of the table.