Nervous Skies:
Amelia Bande, Deborah Bower, Mat Fleming and Annette Knol

Amelia Bande, Deborah Bower, Mat Fleming & Annette Knol, Nervous Skies, The NewBridge Project, 2015.

There’s an immediate atmosphere of anticipation upon entry to this
collaborative exhibition. The viewer is greeted by a dark room with a single spotlight projected onto a button that is screaming to be pressed. A self-initiated display begins. The four projectors whirr into life with the sound of the changing reels echoing loudly around the room, instantly evoking a multi-sensory experience.

Light fills the gallery space and four separate screens appear; one is filled with text, another with a still abstract image and the end two are composed of moving images and shapes. These outer screens initially mirror each other in terms of their visual depictions but are slightly out of sync, thus heightening the sense of momentum conveyed.

Bright colours bombard and dominate the viewer, with everything from primary colours to Battenberg cake colours featuring as a palette. Abstract shapes shift and mutate in quick succession, hardly allowing the mind to process what it has just witnessed. The screens shift constantly between a singular blank colour and a myriad of layered up shapes.

In comparison, the text projection remains still with its slides shifting at a slower pace, allowing the words to sink in and the story to be processed. The narrative is composed of short sentences with ambiguous phrases and rhetorical questions. The story seems slightly disjointed, like a loose knot left for the viewer to unravel. The composure and simplicity of the text provides a sense of tranquillity in amongst the momentum of the flickering images and the loud clicking noise of the changing slides. The mind of the viewer thus enters a conflict; where should the attention be focused? Should the viewer be looking at the outer screens composed of energetic shapes that are, at times, reminiscent of a Mark Rothko painting? Or should their attention be focused on the text and the still image screen that acts as a parallel?

This indecision is removed towards the end of the display as the outer slides with the dancing images suddenly switch off. A powerful silence fills the room. This provides the remaining text and imagery with the dominance it deserves. Poetic phrases fill the screen and propel the projection towards its conclusion. The imagery eventually dissolves into darkness leaving the viewer breathless as a result of this energetic and colourful journey.

Nervous Skies: Amelia Bande, Deborah Bower, Mat Fleming and Annette Knol, The Newbridge Project Space, Newcastle
4 April – 2 May 2015

Image courtesy of Amelia Bande, Deborah Bower, Mat Fleming & Annette Knol, The NewBridge Project

Camilla Irvine-Fortescue is a Fine Art student at Northumbria University.