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Thursday, 4 September 2014

The Doors of Perception in Traces

Tonight I saw 'The doors of perception' by John Espin and Tim Harrold in the Traces exhibition at Hadleigh Old Fire Station. The artwork in this show has been organised and commissioned by ENAS (the Essex Network of Artists' Studios). Hadleigh Old Fire Station is now a gallery space and studios. Traces will end on 14th September.

It is apt that this exhibition, entitled Traces, takes place in this recently re-purposed venue. Much of the selected work featured here deals with places, spaces and identities which formulate and shift through time. This exhibition constitutes one of a number of projects, events and opportunities occurring in the first year of the ENAS initiative which reflects upon these themes; as starting points from which to promote and highlight the work of Essex artists and to ensure that Essex retains and builds upon its reputation as a destination for visual artists.

The artists in Traces were selected in pairs through commissioning opportunities offered by ENAS, to identify other artists with whom they would benefit from a creative dialogue and who are working in complementary ways across a spectrum of theoretical or practical interests. Each of these commissions was designed to allow the artists to develop their networks, test out ideas, take risks, explore new ways of working and broaden their scope of work.

The brief John and Tim were given was simply to produce a three-dimensional artwork in partnership with someone else to sit on a plinth 90com high and 45cm by 45cm. They made a mixed-media 'assemblage' with four scenes so the piece has to be viewed from all sides. There are four themes within the piece, but each is related to another through certain obvious - and not so obvious - visual commonalities.

There is a strong sense of parable about each diorama. Visually, the scenes may at first appear fantastic, childlike, or surreal, but they are intentionally poetic with an oblique narrative. The themes were developed through prayer, direction and creative contemplation, eventually becoming the whole that is The Doors of Perception. They both believe that creativity is a prophetic activity that both interprets and requires interpretation. When Jesus told parables, not everyone 'got' their meaning, nor did he reveal their meaning to everyone. John and Tim hope that the piece will thus reveal to those with eyes to see and ears to hear.


Patti Smith - The Tyger.

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