View Two Gallery, Mathew Street
4th May - 10th June 2006 (Thu and Fri 12-4pm, Sat 12-5pm, or by appointment)
Jai Redman’s politically aware art comes as a surprise and a rare
treat. Work that rides the crest of the zeitgeist whilst possessing a
certain beauty and - crucially - being intellectually accessible to the
viewer without a ton load of background reading and the mandatory degrees
in politics and the history of art that are often required to understand
obscure modern art. Because if we’re honest, we’ll all have
admit to having been crushed by arriving at a gallery and finding there
are no signs explaining what it’s all about. And that sucks.
The exhibition consists of about twenty pieces, including painting, sculpture,
bricolage and found objects. It is specifically untitled and so is only
linked by the featured artist, and the themes of the work range from political
protest to the psychology of shared memory.
In 'A Matter of Taste', the labels on a Marmite and a Vaseline jar are
exchanged. 'History' is made of lead and dust, telling a tale of war and
repetition in which the language of history is denatured and human identity
is erased. ‘Escape for Men’ depicts the athletic figure of
a male in three stages of hurling the Nike logo with the Calvin Klein
‘Escape for Men’ perfume logo behind him, cleverly linking
the modern brand and the consumer it creates with the Ancient Greek etymology
of the label name and sporting connotations. 'Potus' is a comment on colonialist
and imperialist strategy, featuring the President of the United States,
whose head has been replaced by a giant ham. The figure is posed with
an American flag and a globe, yet the watch he wears is blank. 'St Catherine’s
Hill' is possibly the most beautiful piece; a haunting photo-like landscape,
the stark silhouettes of leafless trees frame a blurred full moon and
evoke a disturbing yet simultaneously soothing reaction.
Angry, intense and thought provoking, this exhibition subtly (and not
so subtly in the case of pieces like 'Land Rights Now'), confronts the
viewer with questions about the mechanisms of history, power and capitalism.