Friday, 9 December 2016

Kayt Hughes - My Five Year Old Could Have Done That - Gallery North, Newcastle

The Woon Foundation Painting and Sculpture Art Prize is open to all UK final year undergraduate Fine Art students via an open submission process.

The first prize is a year long £20,000 Fellowship, based in the Woon Tai Jee, studio located at BALTIC 39 in Newcastle’s city centre. It includes mentoring from staff from Northumbria University and the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and a one person exhibition with catalogue at the end of the Fellowship.

My Five Year Old Could Have Done That is an exhibition of all new work by Kayt Hughes, the 2015-2016 Woon Tei Jee Fellow.

My Five Year Old Could Have Done That is an exhibition of new work by 2015-2016 Woon Tei Jee Fellow, Kayt Hughes. The work has been made as part of her year-long Fellowship.

"The building block is an object designed to take on a narrative; it can become many things and can perform many functions. The gallery evidences an interaction with the objects, using simple directions to instigate an action of chance, with consideration to the properties of the objects and their materials."

Downstairs, four different coloured blobs of plastercine sit on a table, each positioned in one quarter of a table. A long wooden plinth spans the back wall on which a selection of sculptures are placed. Each sculpture consists of a number of smaller wooden blocks, some with painted surfaces. Each sculpture takes a different shape, even though that are made from the same number of blocks.

Two sets of instructions for Gallery Assistants are written opposite the tables, one for the plastercine and one for the building blocks. The Gallery Assistants are asked to follow one instruction per shift. These include things such as "roll the plastercine to a thread as long as possible."

Upstairs, there are lots of wooden boxes in different arrangements. Again, some faces of the blocks and boxes are painted in cheerful, pleasant and complementary colours.

It's very simple, not that there is anything wrong with that, but the questions and statements on the wall in vinyl that accompany the different works seem patronising. I don't want to be told what to think in such a direct way, particularly because the work is so basic. 

At first glance, the forms were aesthetically pleasing, but on closer inspection, I was disappointed to see that they were not particularly well made. When work is so minimal, one can hardly fail to notice the defects.

I must admit that I took pleasure from the colours and shapes, but I'm afraid that the work was lacking originality and risk. It was all very safe, very polite. There was not much to dislike (apart from the lack of polish in the way the boxes have been made), but for me, it was rather underwhelming.

No comments: