PAST

SCENERY PRESENTS with CHRIS BARR, MICHAEL DEAN, BRIAN GRIFFITHS, CHARLES MASON, MIKE RICKETTS, MANDY URE, ROY VOSS, RICHARD WOODS

02 February - 05 March 2006

Picnic Area (dumb interior)

Curated by Simon Morrissey

For Picnic area (dumb interior), the normally clean lines of R O O M’s intimate exhibition space become a layered collage of images and objects that conspire to envelope and usurp their viewers. Stepping into the gallery viewers finds themselves on a stage surrounded by mountains and animals that cavort across the walls and all manner of supports and poles to jostle with words that dangle, strut and spill about them.

The viewer inhabits a space that is both simultaneously interior and exterior, or at least a space that seems to think it is. There are acid-green floorboards and books on flowers and birds to look at under the bare light of standard lamps. But aren’t there broad vistas on all sides? Majestic mountains? Cute animals? Even the standard lamps are animals stuck on poles. It is an open space to relax in and take some air, or perhaps some lunch on the picnic table. But the picnic table is a just a skeleton - a skeleton that is more a taunt than a failure. The landscapes collapse and duplicate themselves. Does this space think it is anything more than an artifice of props and propositions? Any more than a trick we are left to play on ourselves with paint and pictures, wood and words?

Yes! The animals are all dumb and leery. The words are blank conspirators. And the mountains? The mountains are salacious! They say ‘Come. Come. Here. Here. Dear. Dear’. But where is here? It is a confection and an escape. It is a picnic area at the top of a mountain. It is a room that is pretending to be a cartoon cabin in the hills. Just for you. But if this is a cabin in the hills then there is a bear shitting in your house. And the scraggy birds make up dirty riddles behind your back:

This old bird,
he poked one,
with his beak and it was fun,
in a bushwhacked fannyshack,
the mountain’s not a rock,
this old bird is called a …

…well, you get the idea.

The exhibition has been made possible through financial support from Arts Council England and Bristol School of Art, Media & Design, UWE.

Open Thursday - Sunday 12- 6pm
Preview Wednesday 1 February 6 – 9pm