S1 Introduces,
S1 Artspace

Text by David McLeavy

S1 Introduces is now in its fourth incarnation. From humble beginnings in 2010, the S1 Bursary scheme has played host to a number of exciting young artists and this years selected Bursary holders are no exception.

As you wander through the vast space of S1 Artspace the sound of a Grime baseline echoes within your ears and is part of a work by Luton born artist Ashley Holmes. The audio accompanies a cleverly edited video work in which close ups and segments of classical and baroque sculpture flash before your eyes. This clear visual and audio contrast acts as a reference to the beginnings of Grime music itself, in which a variety of different, often opposing genres would be cut together to create Grime’s distinctive, often aggressive sound.

Accompanying the video work, Holmes has also created some sculptural works which come in the form of long clear plastic tubes filled with a variety of materials and liquids, that are suspended from the ceiling. The sharp white light of the gallery highlights the transparency of these works, and what could seem to be a rather scruffy aesthetic hangs with a deceptive stillness.

The production process is made explicit in the work of Mark Riddington. Born in Doncaster in 1989, Riddington’s work sings with the visual and structural beauty of industrial materials such as concrete and plaster. For S1 Introduces he has produced new sculptural works, which come in the form of crudely cast columns alongside a series of new wall works. The wall works find visual reference with paving slabs and fragments of buildings, whilst they manage to maintain a serious level of visual delicacy. The colour pallet used adds a gentle contrast to the harsh grey of the concrete and the simplicity and seamlessness of the hang provides a sensitive compliment to the works.

Moving towards another distinctive aesthetic, both Kristian Barnes and Laura Twigg employ simple but effective visual signifiers to explore specific aspects of design and architecture.

Barnes, born in Warrington 1990, explores surface and material, more specifically that of contemporary furniture. Taking influence from the uses of veneers and laminates from iconic modern design manufacturers such as Ikea, Barnes creates sculptures that employ similar methods of production or finish but sit between the boundaries of furniture and sculpture. The works suggest that they perhaps could operate as furniture but maintain the ambiguity of a piece of beautifully crafted sculpture, reminiscent of artists such as Donald Judd or John McCracken.

Laura Twigg’s work focuses on specific architectural features but then presents them in a simplified manner and often uses a mixture of architectural paraphernalia alongside materials of lesser structural quality. For S1 Introduces Twigg has produced a series of prints alongside a group of assemblage sculptures. One sculpture of note uses coloured scaffolding poles and clamps to create a stand alone work reminiscent of the interior of a game of ‘Ker-plunk’. This work alludes to the idea of fragility and balance, whilst maintaining the strength of the materials used. The colour suggests something rather playful in its composition, however the materials once again remind you of the rigidity of the architecture being referenced.

S1 Introduces is always an exciting spectacle for local and national visitors as it gives people the opportunity to view work by artists who are relatively fresh out of education but also have strong ambitions and a distinctive focus. This exhibition works well, with conceptual and visual links in harmony throughout.

 

S1 Introduces continues at S1 Artspace, Sheffield until 1 Feb 2014.

 

David McLeavy is an Artist and Curator based in Sheffield.