Joe Bradley,Nicolas Deshayes,Eddie Peake,Dan Rees,Josh Smith andOscar Tuazon:Surface to Surface
Jonathan Viner opens on Adam’s Row with the group show Surface to Surface featuring works by Joe Bradley, Nicolas Deshayes, Eddie Peake, Dan Rees, Josh Smith and Oscar Tuazon. The gallery’s entrance is provocatively blocked by a wall, placed just a few steps from the door: Eddie Peake’s The Bass Resonating In My Body Makes Me Feel Female begins the exhibition with a physical confrontation. Holes that have been punched through various parts of the plasterboard structure confirm an aggressive response to the sculptures’ obstructive nature. With its hollow insides exposed, the space inside of the wall reveals a narrow chamber littered with plasterboard rubble, a transgression that transforms the structure’s surfaces into malleable barriers and alludes to the social and sexual identities an environment can implicitly impose.
Joe Bradley’s intentionally primitive Untitled is a dirty display of material. It’s abstract patterns unapologetically expose the physicality of oil stick pressed on canvas, a raw unfinished surface that has also been marked by the incidental footprints and debris casually collected on the floor of Bradley’s studio.
On the far wall, Dan Rees’ Buff Titanium, Burnt Sienna, Cadmium Yellow Deep, Flesh Tint, Leaf Green, Mars Black, Oxide Of Chromium Green, Payne's Grey, Phthalo Blue, Phthalo Turquoise, Titanium White, Vermilion, Wedgwood, Yellow Ochre presents a painting both in its conventional format on canvas and then as an imprint directly on the gallery wall. Acrylics are applied from their tubes onto the canvas, which is then pressed against the wall. The pressure of the surfaces on one another squeezes the paint into a pattern which opens up to become a Rorschach-like mirror image. The painting exists twice and in one version it is freed from the surface it is normally bound to, only at the expense of its longevity. By removing the canvas, a surface that is normally taken for granted in painting, Rees’ method challenges the hierarchies of value and questions the importance of uniqueness and permanence.
Oscar Tuazon’s Cloud uses a piece of glass to present the surface as a plane of encounter. The panel of windowpane carries the familiar layer of filth that collects on outdoor urban surfaces, marked with the smudges of passerby’s drifting fingers. Suspended across the top of a steel frame just taller than a person, the glass is shifted to a position above the viewers’ head, becoming a shield and collecting what falls from above whilst filtering the view from below.
Downstairs, Nicolas Deshayes’ Salts also suggests a functional relationship to the viewer’s body. Installed on the wall at chest to shin level, two vacuum-formed skins of plastic representing liquids in states of flux are mounted onto zinc-plated steel panels. The sagging materiality of the forms takes its cue from alluring advertising imagery but also suggests a darker corrosive threat. While these panels relate to the hygienic surfaces of public toilets and bureaucratic offices, the iridescent zinc-plating and the amorphous vacuum-forms insistently point to impressions of the human body.
Josh Smith’s collages on board, both Untitled, are part of a series which layers photocopies, newspaper clippings, found papers and paint, transforming them from sources of information to abstract images. Smith implements repetition and reproduction as strategies to take ownership and mark presence on the surface of his works. The letters of his name reappear throughout the series in various configurations and typefaces, a gesture that refers to the tagging graffiti artists use to indicate and expand their territory.