Ground-breaking book 'Ways of Seeing' by John Berger inspires exhibition at Bo Lee and Workman

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Ground-breaking book 'Ways of Seeing' by John Berger inspires exhibition at Bo Lee and Workman
Sam Bakewell, Dry Rot, 2020, Ceramic, 18.5 x 22.5 x 4 cm.

BRUTON.- Inspired by the ground-breaking book ‘Ways of Seeing’ by John Berger, Bo Lee and Workman presents an exhibition that takes viewers on a visual journey. Exploring the complexities of perception and interpretation, the works of these 5 artists challenge traditional notions of art, subverts visual codes and expectations and invites viewers to explore new ways of seeing.

Sam Bakewell is an artist whose abstract clay works are composed like paintings, with thick colourful layering of coloured forms. Bakewell challenges conventional perspectives by manipulating a ubiquitous material in unexpected ways. His artworks often feature juxtapositions, ambiguous shapes, and intricate patterns that intentionally blur boundaries between sculpture, painting, and ceramics, to create intriguing visual puzzles.

Des Hughes’ work evokes curiosity and contemplation, alongside a keen sense of the comical or absurd. Hard plaster sculptures appear soft and mobile, billowing fabric like forms that appear inflated and ready to take flight. Alongside paintings, with titles such as ‘Noodle Doodle’ are busy abstract manifestations of repeated pattern and freehand symbols which are joyous and lyrical in their naive playfulness.

Polly Morgan uses taxidermy and painted cast facsimiles in provocative and unsettling ways to probe the disparity between surface and reality. Like serried shields or spears, her snake-textured augmented sprues, spine-like columns on which acrylic nails are packaged before application, represent beauty both as signal and armour. These works are from a series of hand-painted sculptures that query the politicisation of bodily adornments and draw parallels between military, cultural and primal warfare.

John Wood and Paul Harrison in their own words ‘make things that move and things that don’t, things that are flat and things that are not, things that are mildly amusing and things that are definitely not’. Their work is primarily performative and is intended to challenge our understanding of the ordinary, and to encourage us to look beyond it – with added visual prompts. Their most recent series of works ‘Paint Trays’ takes the decorators’ paint tray and transforms it into a carefully considered painting.

Through the exploration of emotion and the complexity of existence, Adeline de Monseignat invites viewers to reflect on personal experience and the intangible aspects of being human. ‘Catching it’ is a short film made from footage shot in May 2020, during the Coronavirus Pandemic. The film references Richard Serra’s 1968 film ‘Hand Catching Lead’ in which Serra rhythmically and repeatedly attempts to catch pieces of lead, with the absurd footage showing no clear outcome for the action. In de Monseignat’s film, the hand repeatedly attempts to catch pieces of soap with the brand CORONA, juxtaposing the apparent randomness of the pandemic, which is like trying to catch soap, the resulting obsession with washing hands and the simplified repetitiveness of life in quarantine. The resulting film is ironic, capturing the act of trying to wash hands with Corona to prevent catching Coronavirus.

Sam Bakewell
Adeline de Monseignat
Des Hughes
Polly Morgan
John Wood & Paul Harrison

Bo Lee and Workman
Ways of Seeing
August 3rd, 2023 - September 24th, 2023

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