For beneath everyone on Surface Gallery’s mailing list was invited to participate in an open submission group show. Each artist was asked to submit work which would be no taller than 100cm. This would then be presented in the order it arrived at the gallery. Beneath intends to reveal this network of emerging artists to each other, the gallery and the audience.This action restricts the size of the work submitted, reveals the physicality of the gallery itself and delineates its architectural features whilst simultaneously inviting the audience to ponder the gallery’s position physically and culturally. The conceptual and aesthetic links emerge between the art works purely by chance rather than by the curator’s hand.Some artists will always push whatever curatorial boundaries have been set to the limit. Tomas Chaffe has constructed a wall which divides the gallery, its height reaching precisely the height of the red line. The building of the wall forced the curators and gallery management to discuss at length; access issues, health and safety issues and whether such a large work may cause unrest with other artists. It was decided to allow the artist to construct the wall with some minor adjustments; the work is a testament to the artist-curator-gallery relationship which in this case was a successful one.The various approaches to the brief have revealed the spectrum of the artists that are included on Surface Gallery’s mailing list which has to a certain extent revealed the position that the gallery currently inhabits within the Nottingham art scene. So, as the British Art show is a microcosm of current artistic practices in the UK, this exhibition is intended to act as a snapshot of Surface Gallery’s current interconnections with artists based in Nottingham and beyond. Below Thomas Chaffe's work at /beneath.
An interesting observation during the opening of 'beneath' was that many of the audience members used Tomas Chaffe's work as an architectural feature; leaning on, talking over and even placing drinks on the wall. This occured despite the wall being featured on the show map, thus adding to the complex readings of this work as architectural add-on, sculptural work and curatorial challenger.
The above illustrates the various links that occur even when the placing of works is based on a predetermined conceptual structure. Tomas Chaffe's wall on the far right is a site specific barrier that relates closely to the work of Maud Allen, 'Chair' relates to the nature of obstruction in space, the photograph shows how the light breaks through the solidity of the chair creating a shadow. The aesthetic link is echoed in the work of Blue Firth who made a vinyl floor piece, entitled; 'How to defy death whilst also being invisible (only on a Saturday) this utilises the aesthetic of mythology and dark magic to relate back to the workings of the gallery that was previously closed on Saturday.
Many thanks to all the artists that took part in beneath at Surface Gallery. If you are interested or were unable to attend the show and would like to recieve an illustrated map containing a list of all 64 artists that took part then e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to recieve the map e-mailed to you as a word document.