The Gallery, Plymouth College of Art, Tavistock Place, Plymouth PL4 8AT

good things come…

Agnes Calf / Alex Frost / Clive Murphy / Eric Bainbridge / Hayley Tompkins / Jack Lavender / Jo Addison / Kevin Hunt / Leo Fitzmaurice / Oliver Tirre / Peter Amoore / Richard Wentworth / Ryan Gander / Ruth Proctor / Sean Edwards / Susan Collis / Vanessa Billy

Curated by Kevin Hunt, in collaboration with Hannah Jones

27 April – 4 June 2016

The Gallery, Plymouth College of Art

Review by Bob Gelsthorpe

Flooded throughout Plymouth’s College of Art Gallery space, Kevin Hunt and Hannah Jones show the work of seventeen artists, thirty-one works, and nearly sixty sculptural objects. Not just a game of numbers, this exhibition is part of a sculptural season in the city, with artist-led space KARST opening group exhibition ‘Fuck Newton’ on the same night as ‘good things come…’

Referencing a phrase recorded by poet Violet Fane in the 19th Century [1], and perhaps better known its use as a slogan in Guinness adverts in the 90’s & 00’s, the title of the exhibition ‘good things come…’ gives the room an anticipation of discovery, and (due to the volume of minute sized artworks) an anxiety about accidentally standing on anything.

One of the key contexts, albeit obvious, is that this exhibition is taking place in a College. The very act of walking into the building brings back memories of art school, and of education in general: working-in-progress. Configuration, development and activation are crystallized in Sean Edwards’ ‘Practice Table (PCA Version)’ (2004 – 2016), where MDF shelving from a previous show has been reused for this current display structure, showing sixty-six individual ‘practice objects’ on top (objects that are borne out of Edwards’ studio and harness both incomplete and fully formed ideas). Works that develop as you afford them time is one of the key curatorial drives in the exhibition; two wooden sculptures by Oliver Tirre, ‘Not Titled (the back of an old wall based sculpture) I & II’ (2012 – 2015), have, through the process of time, changed from the back of a sculpture, to the front, as the title explains. The gravity of this sculptural evolution has only been allowed through its time in the studio. Seeing where the individual planes of wood meet and the precision of Tirre’s craftsmanship even implicate the work into a conversation about values of labour.

Deviating from the steadiness of Edwards and Tirre, Kevin Hunt’s ‘Like pulling teeth (green, yellow)’ (2015), has a more direct sense of urgency. Its plastic shapes encased in concrete encourage thoughts about how the surrounding material has hardened and fixed the coloured components, to decide how the piece will sit as its ‘front’. As the exhibition’s curator, Hunt’s structures of influence vary from earlier works such as Richard Wentworth’s ‘Late 20th Century Flag’ (1993) - in relation to Hunt’s own ‘Bibelots Divers’ (2009-2011) series - to his ongoing discussions with Jo Addison [2], thinking about the loaded statement ‘casually perfect’

Agnes Calf’s ‘Rotation (Ear Plugs)’ (2013) are formed of air-drying clay imbued with the touch of the artist. Arbitrary thoughts about how long the air-dry clay might take to harden, and if the ear plugs themselves could be used to imprint its surface, keep the thoughts around distinctive timescales. This is also true of Peter Amoore’s ‘A rock I have only touched with my feet’ (2011- ongoing) a now tiny pebble. Did it begin as a larger rock? Or has always been roughly this size? Both works conjure up the devotion of a durational action, thinking about Francis Alys’ ‘Sometimes making something leads to nothing’, (1993), and how a timeframe can clarify a statement, by giving it a lifespan.

In Susan Collis’ ‘Why not stay?’ Precious stones and metals have been crafted into the shape of panel pins, nails, rawl plugs and screws. They are dispersed throughout the space and offer great conceptual potential within the context of other works in the busy show. For example, one black diamond pin is next to Oliver Tirre’s (already) flipped sculpture and prompts consideration of how things might change again - this exhibition is just one configuration for the artists’ work at this given time.

In recent years, the now well-trodden format of exhibitions looking particularly at one mode of production is in peril of becoming inherently dull (see: the dramatic ‘painting is/is not dead’ conversation). Managing to avoid an overly academic discourse in favour of a materially playful framework, ‘good things come…’ gives sensitive and considerate investment to seventeen contemporary artists; with a clear conviction in discourse within a sculptural practice…as Addison would say, “casually perfect”.

[1] Violet Fane aka Mary Currie, Tout vient ß qui sait attendre (c.1860)

[2] Questions 2, easy does it, [Accessed online 16th May 2016]

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