Miniature Worlds, Jerwood
I get to the Jerwood Space and get a phone call - it's Ben Woodeson. I said I might see him there.
'I've just left,' he says, 'I saw you going in. You ought to introduce yourself to Sarah Williams. She's got blonde, slightly curly hair. She's wearing a black and white dress and she'll probably be standing by the front desk. And she has a pierced tongue. I was talking to her and mentioned you.'
I listen to this while looking at a girl with light brown, slightly curly hair, wearing a black and white dress, standing by the front desk. She isn't sticking her tongue out so I don't know about the whole pierced thing but I reckon it's her alright.
I say goodbye to Ben.
And yes, I probably should go up and say hi to Sarah. She looks friendly and nice and interesting, but sometimes, well, sometimes it's just too tiring to think, ok, let's say hi and chat and then give her my card...and sometimes it's a little treat, a bit of a relief, to just walk anonymously and completely quietly round a show, not networking or saying hi or handing out my details or saying anything to anyone. I decide this show is right for this approach. Or maybe I am just tired.
I get a beer and wander round.
I look at some work by Adam Humphries, a 'digital drawing', made up of hundreds of bits of illustration picked out from comics - weeds, stones, rocks, grass, small explosions....Then I look at his other work which is a real mish mash of outsized/undersized objects made out of polystyrene. I also check out Tessa Farmer's work - she's been getting a good bit of press recently, largely because she has a neat media hook - she makes work from insects: wasps, flies, grasshoppers, bits of other things, bones, birds, all sorts of dead stuff. And all tiny. Tiny little figures made out of bits of insects, looking like evil little fairies...I think she maybe calls them Hell's Angels or something. Anyway, fairly grotesque little things (above). And all set up in some scenario tonight where they seem to be menacing a hedgehog. Very odd. Bit creepy. Hell to try and photograph...I go round a bit more and look at some paintings by Paul Collinson. When I originally saw the email for this show one of his works was included. It looked like a photograph. Then later I saw it in a slightly bigger format and I thought, ah no it's not a photograph, it's a painting. And now I'm standing in front of it and it really is, clearly, a painting. Two guys are standing next to me. One of them says 'Hey. Look at this, it looks just like a painting.' His friend says, 'It is a painting.'
I don't know quite what to make of this.
There's also some long wooden boxes, standing on stilts, which contain landscapes, created by Andrea Gregson, which you can peer into. And people do indeed peer into them.
Laura Youngson Coll creates weird hybrid plants and has a plug socket attached to the wall on which lots of strange tiny birds are swarming...
Liz Dawson has done some accomplished, small scale paintings...
Michael Whittle has done some fine drawings...
I go back and look at the polystyrene stuff. And Tessa's insects for a bit.
Look at the landscapes in the boxes.
Think about the meaning of miniature in terms of this show...
Get another beer...
Look some more at Adam's digital drawing....
And so, it seems to me, go on and on.
Maybe I am just completely crap at looking at art and that's all there is to it. Maybe I'm better talking about people and ignoring the art, but, I just don't know.
There's all this work gone into these pieces, and many of them are good pieces, but, well...I just don't care.
I really can't make myself care about any of these works. Looking at them is like looking through a glass case. Nothing comes off them. Nothing really reaches out and pulls me in.
It's another show in another gallery.
I see Anthony Gormley there, peering in to one of the landscape boxes.
He looks like he's enjoying himself. He looks like he's having fun.
Just like he looked when I last saw him, oooh, when was that? Oh yeah, last October in a show at The Hospital called New Romantic.
I seem to remember some of Adam's work in that. And Laura's...
(Ok. It takes me a couple of days, but I get the answer: Adam works for Anthony, that's all.)
I take a last stroll round the gallery.
Maybe I should have said hello to Sarah after all.