Three-D Exhibition at Boxbird gallery
With so much modern art and illustration existing only in a digital space, an exhibition that celebrates the hand-held, carefully crafted and painstakingly created is a lovely thing to see. It’s good for the soul, like growing a spider plant or looking after a small hamster.
The extremely talented paper artist Helen Musellwhite and my long time Brighton Illustration hero Graham Carter are exhibiting together this May. The Three-D exhibition at the Boxbird gallery, features new work from Musellwhite and Carter, as well as wooden creations from super talented illustrator Tom Frost and animated shorts featuring the work of all 3 artists created by Animation studio Ticktockrobot.
The Gallery is on a quiet Hove Road leading to the sea, a small space crammed to the ceiling with illustrative treasures. You will be greeted by Graham Carter’s distinctive sculpture work. Layered segments of painted wood and laser cut leather, painstakingly pieced together to create detailed character’s or elaborate machines. In ‘Gentleman Grooming’ you can peruse an array of stylish ginger beards presented to you by a charming, rotund little barber. Sculpture ‘Lost Luggage Gentleman’ presents a distinguished, painted, wooden suitcase taking a puff on a pipe, his jumbled legs ready to scurry off should you disturb him. There is just so much to look at and spot in Graham’s work, the longer you gaze the more you are drawn into his strange world of friendly creatures, a little lady bird half magnified as it crawls under a magnifying glass in ‘Swiss Miss’, or pesky wee bears pulling levers in ‘Steam Net’.
Whilst Helen Musselwhite’s work is just as intricate, it has quite a different personality. Though there are plenty of friendly characters to be met here too (and certainly no shortage of owls) some of her work has a darker feel to it. Helen is very interested in nature and woodland creatures and her occasional use of muted colours, greys, blacks and soft pinks, lend the brambles and spiky foliage the feeling of a dark fairytale forest. Her mastery of paper really is staggering, she bends it to her will, layering and intertwining the fragile pieces to create her unique sculptures. Somehow getting them to stand up-right and cast shadows in the right places and not a hint of dirty fingerprints or runny glue to be seen. I take some twisted comfort from her admission to the beginnings of RSI, she is human, phew! Look out for birds a plenty, quiet deer and thick hedgerows, also humour as with ‘Storm in a Teacup’ in which a tiny ship sails the torrid waters of a teacup.
Tom Frost’s work is right at home here too. His giant wooden matchboxes with their strange perspective and vintage patterns have a wonderland quality to them. I tell him I’d like to pick them up and shake them, take all the matches out then put them back in again, he tells me that people are often unsure how to display his artwork, should they mount the painted race cars on the wall or give them to their children to play with? This is an outcome he is very pleased with, after all why should art to be on a pedestal when it could be enjoyed, not locked away like the Sunday china.
So put down your gadgets and step away from the computer screen, pay a trip to the Boxbird and see if you can’t spot a minute wooden bear turning the cogs of the internet.
Three- D is on at The Boxbird Gallery in Hove, East Sussex, until the 29th of May 2013.
Review by Alice Parsons. Video by Anthony Gates.