The Offending Article, Rosemary Cronin & Stuart McKenzie at Transition Two, East London, Feb 2020 – It was a rather busy opening night down by the roundabout in the Ghetto (as the Hackney locals refer to the village-like area) – ‘Never was I so offended as a small child when my mother tried to force me into a baby blue hooded coat with self coloured belt’ Stuart McKenzie. Seeing the actual show on the opening night was next to impossible, it really did need a return visit the weekend afterwards, I guess a crowded open night of an art show is no bad thing and what we could see clearly demanded a return to the small space anyway…
‘The regulars would take great pleasure in ordering packs of peanuts. It was one of those boards where each pack bought, meant more of the page three stunner was revealed underneath. Every pack torn off used to make me blush and fume” – Rosemary Cronin
“The Offending Article draws upon objects that communicate loss and trauma through the fading of their very objectness” so reads the accompanying information – .”Taking poetry as a starting point this exhibition sees Rosemary Cronin and Stuart McKenzie explore the affects and associations of the abject and banal. Mixing ‘male’, ‘female’, meaning, metaphor, signs and semiotics Cronin and McKenzie breakdown slippery associations to make time stand still through the sensory seduction of their disrupted objects” and there is, before you ever get to words, an sense of connection between the seemingly unrelated objects, the playing cards dipped in paint to maybe obscure, the old school bedroom record player on the floor, the old bathroom cabinet – “This show came from conversations of the abject – the seen, unseen, the rediscovered. The hidden in language revealing itself. Myth making by virtue of biography which was once seen as ‘The Offending Article’.
There always is a whiff of academia with the shows at Transition, that smell of art school, that safety net is seems so hard for some to get over and escape – “Rosemary Cronin is an artist, writer and lecturer with a research-based practice focusing on gender, psychoanalysis and subversion. The work is realised through film, performance, print and sculpture. Cronin has exhibited at South London Gallery, ICA London, National Portrait Gallery and The Wallace Collection”, there is something compelling here though, something that demands you question what you’re being asked to look at, to join the dots where there might not actually be any, and yes, those peanut cards that demand more nuts were bought to reveal the the topless female object behind the bar were always annoying (they don’t still have them do they? Surely not?) , it is always best to let the actual art do the talking before you let the words in That cheesy 70’s bathroom cabinet, the record player that always was on the floor back then, the gold leaf obscuring in just the right way to set off more questions.
“Stuart McKenzie is an artist, illustrator, poet and musician. His work explores the performance of self through materiality, manifested through painting, poetry, performance and objects. McKenzie has exhibited at TG Gallery Nottingham, MIART Milan, Umwelt Mode Basel, Dinner Party Gallery and Blackwing Studios London. He is widely published as a poet and featured in the Laudanum Chapbook Anthology series Volume 1. He is guitarist / vocalist with the band Wild Daughter.”
This is an intriguing show, the pieces are intriguing, the connections, the objects, the whys and the wherefores, the articles, the offending article, the meaning the obvious metaphor that may be anything but obvious, the shoes left on the floor, the need to know more and yes, to read the words, listen to whatever there is that the objects on the wall lead to. The two protagonists are a strong combination, just the right foil or something like that, this is a good show, a strong show, strong statement, it is a shame that Transition shows so often feel like they have to wrap themselves in words so much, this one kind of almost cut through it all though, well no, no almost about it, that gloss paint and that gold leaf were more than enough to cut through it all… (sw)
Transition Two is at 110 Lauriston Rd, London, E9 7HA – Hidden slightly around the corner on the street just off the roundabout, we’re rather enjoying the born again thing that is Transition, far better then that tower block they hid in. The Offending Article runs from 18th Jan until 9th Feb.
Do click on an image to enlarge or to run the fractured slide show