Oral Suspension Review

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A vibrant and fluid showing across a multitude of mediums and materials, ORAL SUSPENSION is an exhibition of work produced between Nick Gordon and David Blyth, and the christening show for the Look Again Project Space.

The show takes place over 2 floors, with the lower floor carefully constructed in its use of light to harness a sense of the deep beneath street level, imitative of the of the North Sea, with colour casts created by bright lights under fish boxes and sandcastle buckets. A pair of projectors shoot through large fishing nets stretched taught standing off the public at the entry to one of the rooms, a confrontation complimented by the video footage of skates floating through water.

The lucky first hundred visitors to the show are gifted a complimentary copy of a publication, featuring intermittent sections from the writings of Peter F. Anson, the ‘Skate Recipes from Aberdeen’ is a well-researched and brilliantly put together publication, compiled by David Blyth and interspersed with images, songs and informative little excerpts of North-East fisher folk related to the enigma of the skate.

The work swings from jovial caricature-repurposed-item sculptures to seriously produced elegant prints, sculptures, and castings around themes of divinity and matrimony, sexuality and anthropomorphism.

The exhibition is the result of research undertaken over many months by the artists, who met as student and lecturer at Gray’s School of Art and began a dialogue over the oral folk traditions in the North East of Scotland and Orkney.

In the process the artists have met many of the fishmongers, fishermen and women and the Orkney Skate Trust, assisting in bringing some much-needed attention to the critically endangered fish.

The Skate has long been a part of the vernacular of artists over the centuries due to their attributed mythology, including practitioners such as John Bellany, Lyle Wilson, and James Ensor. The show presents a new exhibit in the collection of history’s fascination with the arrowhead-shaped creature from the deep, informed by the longstanding beliefs and superstitions once prolific in the heritage of the North-East.

ORAL SUSPENSION is open: Thu 5-8pm, Fri-Sun 11am-5pm from the 23rd February till the 24th March 2019 at the LookAgain Festival’s project space, 32 St. Andrew Street, Aberdeen, AB25 1JA.

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