The area of the North Quay in Douglas has recently been the focus of regeneration and progressive and ambitious thinking. Housed in a landmark historical building, the Market Hall is now host to a hub of contemporary art. A contradiction in terms you may think, but whilst since 2014 this has been a centre of higher education with the IOM College running Fine Art and Visual Communication degrees, it is also a space for exhibitions.
In conjunction with Northumbria University and the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, an internationally renowned centre for contemporary art based in Gateshead, there is to be an exciting Contemporary Fine Art exhibition running from April 1st -8th at the Market Hall, North Quay, Douglas.
The title Just Under the Surface hints at the depths beneath the sculptural, photographic, print, video and paint exterior. This conceptual, visual and metaphorical feast will make you question your island landscape and your notions of art.
Included within the exhibition will be work by Helen Fox and Colette Davies (both of whom teach at the Market Hall); Dr Judy Thomas; William Pym; Dave Fudge and Richard Hall amongst others who are all studying (or teaching on) the MA Fine Art and Education course delivered by Northumbria University. The art shown will be works in progress for this Master's degree.
The works shown cover a variety of concepts and media: Richard Hall creates large-scale printed drawings juxtaposed with three-dimensional sculptural artworks. His artwork aims to explore the visual richness of inscribed symbols associated with the lost Minoan languages of Linear A and Linear B. Schematic drawings are visualised as concepts through mind mapping, reflecting a desire to protect, and bring attention to, the iconography and intrigue surrounding lost languages.
Helen Fox lives and works on the Isle of Man, where her home is very close to the sea, and this landscape supplies the inspiration for her work. She is currently working with the clay harvested from the beaches on the west of the Island. This material is very fragile in its natural state and when applied to different surfaces has a temporal quality; the more it is handled the more it wears away. Helen said 'my work explores embedding the clay into the different surfaces, exploring and exploiting the characteristics that present themselves as the materials become wet and dry.'
William Pym states that 'Photography is journalism, everything else is painting' or idle speculation or unfounded rumour or shifting sand. Photographs are images captured, hostages taken for future bartering, negotiations and exchange. They bear unreliable testimonies, hoping for freedom, pleading their innocence but not to be trusted or relied on. These fretful image prisoners are lined up, ordered, examined, identified, catalogued, framed, charged, tried and sentenced.
Dr Judy Thomas is an artist facilitator; her practice connects with notions of collaboration, participation and engagement at different levels. Her research considers a new model of working, for artists wishing to engage with contemporary art through audience engagement, with a focus on operating through making and doing, rather than emulating or passive viewing.
Dave Fudge tried creating 'serious art' but it was no good, exhausting to make and look at. Things that happened despite his planning and over-thinking turned out to be closer to what he was trying to strong arm. He said 'my best ideas come from hanging-out, conversation, glimpsed by accident, and stumbled upon. I'm trying to make art that is easily digestible that you don't necessarily have to see to enjoy. I have begun to experiment with play tacit and explicit, collaborative and individual.'
Colette Davies says that her artwork 'is an exploration of connections between peoples within a confined landscape. The focus of interest is communication through embodiment and related semiotics. There is a universal narrative with being a woman that has been distorted through the patriarchal system of visualising and viewing the role throughout the past 1000 years. I am interested in exploring not only the collective stories of womanhood, but also the differences across eras and how this can be visualised sensitively.'
Come and explore Contemporary Fine Art in a space that you know so well.