Charles Mason and Laura White use the urban spectacle as a sculptural pretext, seizing both their inspiration and raw material from the streets of London. Seeking to simultaneously elevate the overlooked and to root their sculpture in daily life, their work can be located within the tradition of New British Sculpture, echoing its emphasis on 'truth to materials'.
This show is the culmination of a series of exhibitions at the gallery Cortex Athletico in which two artists present their practice in visual dialogue. In urban formalism/formalisme urbain, the subject of that dialogue is sculpture and its relation to the city. Open throughout the summer, this two-person exhibition presents the work of Mason and White for the first time in Bordeaux.
White will exhibit a series of works that combine video projections and sculptural elements, capturing 'natural' moments within the urban environment. They range in size from a woodland landscape occupying an entire room, to a delicate image of a robin projected onto a small speaker, from which the sound of a pneumatic drill emanates, drowning out his birdsong.
Mason will show two works from his Citizen Series, in which old and new wooden structures are jigsawed into camouflaged shapes and the pieces exchanged. He will also present a recent sculpture exploring linear means of creating space, built upon an abandoned table frame. Accompanying this, he shows a series of drawings made on the surface of photographs, depicting shipping containers and the spaces Mason imagines within, virtual graffiti revealing unsuspected architectural beauty.
Housed in a former milk factory, and located in a working class district near the city's main train station, Cortex Athletico provides a suitably urban setting for this project. The ongoing ambitious redevelopment of Bordeaux itself also provides an appropriate backdrop for an exhibition that explores alternative ways to look at a city.
Charles Mason (b. 1962) studied at the Slade and was the Rome Scholar in sculpture in 1997. He lives in London and recent exhibitions include a solo show at Station, Phoenix Wharf in Bristol (2004), and scenery at Nuova Icona in Venice and at the Richard Salmon Gallery in London (2003). Laura White (b. 1968) has two MAs in Fine Art, one from Nottingham Trent University (1997), the other from Goldsmiths College (2004). She lectures at the latter and at Manchester Metropolitan University, and lives in London. Recent exhibitions include a solo show at Alma Enterprises, London (2005), and the group show Nowhere Else But Here at Danielle Arnaud Contemporary Art (2004).
The exhibition is curated by Zoë Gray (independent curator and Bordeaux Correspondent for Contemporary) and is supported by Contemporary Magazine, Manchester Metropolitan University, The British Council, la Ville de Bordeaux avec l'AFAA, and the CAPC Musée d'art Contemporain.
Dates: Opening night 23rd June 2005 from 6:30pm
Exhibition open Thursday to Saturday 2-8pm or by appointment until 23rd August 2005