Same same but different, it might just look like four words that contradict each other, but this one phrase perfectly describes what is to be found over at the Hackney’s Guest Projects gallery this week. Three artists and an unexpected treat of a show, some rewarding drawing, some wonderful sound, glorious texture and “Same Same but Different”, an exhibition of new work by artists Sally Booth, Hugh Huddy and Aaron McPeake, a show that we heartily recommend you try to make the time to check out if you possibly can.
Three artists sharing space, sharing sound and light, three artists with differing practices collaborating to complete a residency and an exhibition of new work at Hackney’s Guest Projects. Sally Booth‘s drawing installation, “a piece called Drawing the Lines, a collection of drawings and paintings inspired by her journeys with her sketchbook on the London Underground. From High Barnet to Morden, from Ealing to Upminster, Sally Booth has been making drawings across the London tube network. Fast and furious, these line drawings are often made over just one or two stops, and reflect movement and snatches of life on the Underground”. There’s a whole wall of exciting attention-holding drawing and paintings, colour coded to represent the tube lines, fast drawings – energetic pieces, wonderful paintings, simple drawings alive with so much detail, pieces alive with movement, with people, with scratchy pen-marks, fast pieces drawn using a black biro pen, snippets of her journeys, bits of observations, flavours, fast pieces created between stations, from the memory of an escalator ride, wonderful marks, full of so much life – that dark scratchy drawing/painting looking down that escalator really is a standout piece that you really really do need see in the flesh rather than via fractured photo taken on phone and then posted on website (you get none of the power of that dark blue piece in that almost useless photograph there, it merely offers a hint and hopefully an incentive)
There really is something special about these drawings, the energy of those scratchy biro marks and those washes of paint, the energy of drawings made on busy tube trains or from still fresh memory – the capturing of those hands holding on to rails, skateboards held on knees, people lost in their reading – and maybe it really doesn’t look like much here on-line, you need to go see that wall of Sally Booth’s observations, these photos do her wonderful work do no justice, they merely offer a hint of flavour as some kind of encouragement to go see them.
Hugh Huddy is a fascinating sound artist (amongst other things), he’s a fascinating person full stop, his piece is a little difficult to engage with amongst all the noise that comes with an art show’s opening evening, “Silent Pipe” will have to be explored again during quieter daylight gallery hours. Apparently a “sound sculpture that suspends curious conversations in mid-air. Its visual form hides an invisible purpose. The pipe transmits an audible signal that the listener can eavesdrop on through gaps in the pipe. AI Chat bots are heard talking to people, passing fragments of a story that has not yet been told”, and from the enjoyably long conversations with Hugh about sound, sight, artificial intelligence and lots (lots) more, it is rather clear that another visit at a quieter time is very much needed.
Aaron McPeake‘s main piece dramatically occupies the centre of the gallery, “Same but Different” is “a series of pairs of bell-bronze sculptures that appear identical but produce very different sounds. The interactive nature of this work makes the encounter a multi-sensory experience”, we’re invited to strike the bells, they sound rich in here – apparently he cast the last ever bell at the Whitechapel foundry earlier this year and around the side of the room there’s some wonderfully tactile pieces of cast lava that need to be explored, touched, admired – and yes wonderful is a word being used quite a bit here on this particular page, no apology for that, this is a wonderful show, three wonderfully engaging artists and a rather recommended exhibition…
Did we mention that All of the artists have acute visual impairments and that all three are registered blind? It is not a subjective element in their work here so they say. although of course it is to some extent, it has to be. Working with visual impairment adds all kinds of elements to an artist’s practice (and indeed to how an artist is treated), it throws up all kinds of questions for an artist in terms of what others are seeing. in terms of the direction an artist takes (or is forced to take) as sight fails. The fact that the three artists here have visual impairments isn’t a major factor in terms of this particualr show so they say, but for some of us it is particularly exciting to find the three of them here together just getting on with it all with such possitive energetic engaging style…
The rather frustratingly hardly ever open Guest Projects space is located at 1 Andrews Road, Hackney, London E8 4QL, an excellent space when it is actually open (why are so many art space so annoyingly underused?). You find the gallery by the Regent’s Canal around the corner from Broadway Market. (may we recommend visiting the show and at the same time checking out Mat Humphrey’s painterly light, at New Art Projects just around the corner on Sheep Lane, two rather impressive shows that are very close to each other, the link you just passed will tell you more about that excellent show of paintings)
We go to a lot of art shows, we’re out at shows all the time, some of them we write about when they excite us enough to think them worth writing about here, some we politely decide not to cover, some we go along to alive with excitement and anticipation, others we curiously go along to not really expecting too much, is all honestly we weren’t expect that much here, we were curious more than anything, I can’t wait to go have a second (and third) look and listen (and touch) without the (very friendly) opening night crowd, “Same Same but Different” really is a wonderful show, do try to get to it. (SW)
Click on an image to enlarge or to run the fractured slide show and get a bit of a flavour (you can listen to photos though).