AS PART OF MARGATE ROCKS (THANET CONTEMPORARY ARTS FESTIVAL), THE GALLERY IOTA, IN CONJUNCTION WITH BUTTONHOLE ARTS, PRESENTS “WITH PLEASURE…”, AN EXHIBITION OF PAINTING, SCULPTURE, PHOTOGRAPHY, AND VIDEO BY NINE CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS.
The work of these artists is stylistically diverse, and no single work in this exhibition is simply about pleasure. But then pleasure itself is rarely pure or simple. We are all too familiar with the tinge of pain that infects our pleasures, if only at their passing; with the added frisson supplied by a pleasure stolen; with the tendency of an impulsive indulgence to give way to remorse, or a sumptuous feast to indigestion; of how the deserted out-of-season pleasure beach can assume a melancholy air. However, pleasure is certainly and necessarily a component of all these artists’ work, whether as an ingredient in their making or, like a joke or a gift, an accompaniment to their reception.
A keen sense of visual humour informs Jo Addison’s mixed media objects and images, which explore the signs of promised pleasure, but hint that the experience might be less, or rather more, than you bargained for.
Simon Wells has applied silver leaf to the gallery windows, turning them into a diffuse mirror reflecting both the inside and the outside worlds, and continuing the theme of recent video works which find rapture in the doublings, reflections, shadows, halos and radiances through which the world makes itself visible.
Into the darkened space created by Simon Wells’ mirror, Veronique Chance projects a film made while riding the waltzer in Margate’s Dreamland. Slowed down, the film reveals subtle rhythms and changes of pace, while the soundtrack of shrieks and music becomes eerily sinister, an elision of joy and fear.
Alice Walton works with paper cutouts, creating sinuous tangles of line and colour. Reminiscent of lace or paper doilys, her work masquerades under a facade of the utmost politeness, drawing you in under false pretences, like a fly into a web.