MUESLI is an expansive project currently curated by Mia Cathcart and Meg Brain, formed by artists whose practice encompass a bit of everything, hence their name.
On to the next is MUESLI’s final exhibition as a part of The Royal Standard’s 1.11 residency. It is a hybrid of clear curatorial vision with unrelenting theoretical experimentation. On to the next is their fourth exhibition in a series of events which have set out to question the relevance of the gallery in a contemporary world by challenging the ‘white box’ and exploring its limitations.
On to the next is a curatorial experiment, an exhibition formed from an open call with with no set restrictions and a focus on including submissions from a broad geographical swathe. This break from the London-centric art scene is positive discrimination geared towards furthering the collective’s aim of “highlighting underrepresented artists” and offering them a space in Liverpool.
Curated to enable the under-represented, MUESLI’s selection from the open call has been chosen to suggest harmony or cognitive dissonance between five pre-selected artists. Of the five, there were two that stood out. Guy Broadhurst’s two dimensional blue orb Down by the Shore (with F) is a minimal, highly sculptural marvel that the artist refuses to qualify. Katrina Cowling’s Veiled Relations offers the viewer a pleasantly surreal experience, undermining expectations of textural honesty while playing with light and shadow.
In order to develop a commitment to geographic diversity, previous events from MUESLI have welcomed collectives from across the country. However, On to the next it is distinctly a creation of MUESLI’s own making which offers a new take on the group show, challenging the viewer to pick out the narrative and generic strands that hold the exhibition together.
By filling the exhibition to the brim MUESLI has challenged an essential limitation of the gallery space itself. The infinite space of a digital world is set against the limited space of a gallery, and much of the work on show bridges the gap between the physical and digital worlds. Stacey Davidson’s self portrait (freckles), creates a wholly digital concept realised on physical canvas by blending the traditional artistic gesture with photoshop layers, commenting on the homogony of Instagram culture.
Joanne Dawson’s rotating Look! See! Invest! is an overt reference to consumerism, while Bex Massey’s entire oeuvre questions the very nature of value. The Swing is a complex web of allusion overlaying a classical subject, questioning the nature of transferable value and intrinsic worth.
Over 150 artists responded to MUESLI’s open call. The exhibition space is saturated with sculpture and visual installation, while the walls hang heavy with canvas, lycra and collage. 16 exhibitors made it into the show, more individual artists than in all of MUESLI’s previous exhibitions put together. Effectively doubling the number of artists MUESLI has supported is one hell of an artistic statement and this exhibition has paid off big time.
Jonathan Ferguson is a writer based in Liverpool.
On to the next at The Royal Standard, Liverpool
Until July 10 by appointment.