Twisted Life @ The Print Room

Floating apples and tonal imbalances denote darkroom manipulations, such experiments employing a retro-DIY approach that dwells too easily upon visual effects and an emphasis on manual effort (or de-emphasis on technological innovation). The exhibition title subverts one fine art genre, and it is perhaps inevitable that the most attractive works on display focus on dramatic renderings of static objects. Shareem Amry captures flowers encased in melting ice, her black background limiting possible methods to create visual depth, which depend on hi-resolution textured surfaces of dead flowers. The results are beautifully poignant, its rectangular ice blocks recalling the shape of a coffin, with water as the nourishing element within. Shareem utilises solarisation to posit a glowing butterfly hovering over seashells, this surreal yet charming image hanging at the gallery's WIP section.

Shareem Amry - Under This Skin #1 (2015)

Paul Gadd demonstrates technical expertise with vivid and captivating captures, his subjects and titles referencing well-known examples of Western canonical art. Pig heads served upon platters are called “John”, while a lady draped with heavy linen and her breasts exposed, is titled ‘Waiting for Purgatory’. “Throne of the Fallen” sees a snake tied to a cross with fruits at its bottom, and spindly stalks of flowers on a shallow bowl refer to “The Reaping”. These striking pictures with Christian references evoke strong emotions, and when juxtaposed with the one odd set – a number of sunflowers studies – lay bare the presumption that post-impressionist tendencies (or, just Van Gogh) are more expressionist than classical subjects. It is astounding how a collection of photographs can project a playful twist on art history, as one looks forward to the studio gallery’s new direction. 

Paul Gadd - Throne of the Fallen #2 (2015)