Ingredients, Method, Serving Suggestion at APT Gallery

Curated by one of its featuring artists and recipient of the APT Curatorial Fellowship 2016, Alaena Turner, this curious exhibition at APT Gallery, SE8, looks to explore the relationship contemporary art has with the everyday, whether this is through domestic objects in sculpture, or more abstract depictions. As it emerges, this relationship is a strong and recurrent one, and in these mostly new works we see ideas unfold from many different angles. Without being totally abstract, instead contemporary pieces partially subvert domestic practices; the show's press release almost poetically states that "the instructive form of the recipe enables material knowledge to be shared through collective acts of repetition and interpretation, situating the recipe as the historical precedent for open-source models of knowledge distribution", emphasising the domestic routine as creative process rather than a more banal outcome.

The favourable size of the APT Gallery space means that there is the physical capacity to house many works as part of the exhibition, however by spacing them out, each medium is embraced and each artist is then granted a solid voice. Materiality is also a pivotal theme throughout the show, as the viewer's ability to form connections with each material used in the work is potentially the first point at which the theme of the exhibition reaches its audience. Jack Vickridge's 'Untitled' work is comprised of concrete and pigment, the former of which we regularly identify as a highly useful and historically significant material, primarily in architectural history but also bearing a strong social impact. Furthermore the decision for the piece to remain 'Untitled' allows an intimate bond to form between viewer and artwork, with minimal artist intervention.

Jack Vickridge, Untitled, 2016. Concrete and pigment, 38.5cm x 44.5cm. APT Gallery, London. 

Diversifying from a focus on the material element of an artwork, perhaps the most compelling piece featured in the show comes from London-based artist Katrina Blannin, whose painting and supporting acrylic sign, 'Black Madonna, Dear Yoko', responds directly to the textual based work in Yoko Ono's oeuvre, which regularly involves instructions and influences from psychogeographical practices. The accompanying sign sets out the artist's ideas on how the minutiae of daily life might be expressed through painting. A poignant piece, Blannin's words avoid contemporary art jargon and can be viewed as transferable to various moments within the everyday: "Yes, life and art is simple and small and fun. But your script is multi-layered and my painting cannot be" (sic.) is further enhanced by observing the painting, which at first glance appears to be a plain, blanketed black canvas, but in fact the image has been split four ways and, indeed, presents itself as multi-layered. Creating an experience out of everyday mentalities and actions really exemplifies the remit of the show.

'Ingredients, Method, Serving Suggestion' extends beyond the static artistic representation of wall-based canvas works; innovation and alternative curation are both prevalent in the back gallery space, where, most notably, Eddie Farrell, Bruce McLean and Alaena Turner's 'Underwater Watercolours' film is showcased within a water-filled fish tank. This is a highly fitting and aesthetically beautiful way of displaying the video, however again it is the painting practice which perhaps encourages the most exploration and intrigue, especially in the manifestation of work by another London-based artist, Damian Taylor. 'Untitled (pour)' and 'Untitled (paw)' employ clever wordplay, materialising the show's reiteration of performing the everyday, and the incognito alchemy that occurs on a daily basis, varying from room to room within the home, and further more in the exterior realm.

Sarah Kate Wilson, Visors, 2016. Coloured acetate, garment hangers, cord, electrical tape, 50cm x 68cm. APT Gallery, London.

Ultimately, 'Ingredients, Method, Serving Suggestion' is a comfortable viewing experience for visitors well equipped with contemporary art themes. Particularly with the growing popularity of performance art, reproducing the everyday in terms of aesthetic depiction and philosophical significance is becoming more commonplace across all media. By incorporating the exhibition in the gallery space with themed events, including a 'recipe swap symposium', APT Gallery ensures that, instead of answering specific questions or addressing ideas directly, an ongoing discussion is extended to the artists and viewing public alike.

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