It is an important moment for PEER as it is enters its fourth year of collaborating with Acme – a career programme enabling young artists to establish themselves and their approaches towards their future profession. This year the exhibition consists of large installations by three women graduates from London based MA courses – Greta Davies, Kate Howard and Marylyn Molisso. Their work touches on notions of experience, temporality and embodiment, as it interweaves with the gallery spaces, as well as the physical presence of other objects.
Approaching PEER one immediately encounters Davies’ work, which expands beyond the façade of the gallery’s building. Under the title ‘Studio window’ Davies’ piece creates a threshold between the public and the inside life of the gallery. As it expands further over the window, it intersects with the building, as if ‘down the rabbit hole’, allowing a literal insight into the works within. Using a multiplicity of mediums within her installation, such as paint, vinyl and video projection, Davies explores landscapes through different ways of interacting with and intersecting architectural structures within our everyday. She highlights spaces which might not be noticeable in the first instance but might allow an approach to space in various different ways. Her work explores new forms of experiencing physical presence and questions its proximities to the subject.
Parallels can certainly be drawn between Davies’ and Molisso’s work. Concentrating on the relationship between herself and the work that she produces, Molisso explores similar notions of relationships and experiences, mostly driven by her ‘anxiety’ to have created objects that are meaningless and the ‘guild’ of their unsustainability. In the centre of this, she exhibits a sculpture similar to a spider’s web expanding into different directions of the room - ‘Backbreaker’. The sculpture consists of found cloths, scaffolds, wooden floor boards and many other materials which symbolise the permanence of being and the importance of existing. Molisso captures the essence of the objects’ immortality which is constantly intersecting with the surrounding landscapes and our movements within.
A slightly different approach is shown by Howard, who places her focus and drive for creating sculptures on the desire to explore gender stereotypes, identity and sexuality. Placing her work throughout the space, Howard’s sculptures challenge the public idea of masculinity and undermines this through the form, materiality and placement of her work in the room. The individual objects interact with each other through their position and their radical titles - ‘Mock Cock’, ‘Spread’, ‘Hysterical Prosthetic’ - just to name a few.
Reflecting on the exhibition in its bigger picture, the collaboration between PEER and Acme not only creates an opportunity for new rising artists to exhibit their work but constructs an essential support mechanism for professionals who are learning how to cope with the (at times) rough career path that might lie ahead. The mentoring scheme, as well as development and financial aid are only a few of the benefits that Acme aims to enable. ‘OUT OF SHAPE is an exceptional example highlighting the importance of creating collaborative physical spaces and support to guide artists as they transition between the protective safety net of an art institution to their future practice out in the real world.