Monday, 28 January 2013

Adam Kelly - "Grandfather" Private View

On a downright snowy night  in Stoke-on-Trent last Friday, Adam Kelly, AirSpace Gallery's second 2012 Graduate Resident, opened his solo show, "Grandfather".

Over the six months of his residency, Adam has maintained an interest in a series of themes, all of which are on display. Combining a series of rudimentary paintings and sculptures made from found materials, the show explores ideas of family, the generation gap, national identity and trans-European migration, with an ever-present  modernist treatment.

The paintings have an inherent "European-ness", borne from Adam's Polish ancestry, whilst especially in Gallery one, there is an inescapable sense of family and a family heritage.

That sense of the personal and nostalgic familial memory is dominant, not only in the sculptural installation on display in the window - a representation of childhood games played with Adam's Grandfather, the eponymous hero of this show, but also confirmed by the bespoke text which accompanies the show.

25/01 to 02/02/2013

I was born in Beckton, Newham east end London in 1989. Around the corner from where my family lived, the final climatic scenes of Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 MOVING PICTURE FULL METAL JACKET were filmed. Shortly after I was born we moved to the NETHERLANDS where we lived for the next five years before moving back to ENGLAND where we have remained ever since. The house in the Netherlands offered the whole top floor as a playpen where my GRANDFATHER Edward “Dzia Dzia” Jezycki (b. 1919 d. 2005) and I could imagine new worlds, within a country that was FOREIGN to both of us. With a long narrow spiralling staircase, and a CANAL viewable from the windows, the house was indeed a home.

Growing up, from two different backgrounds, you become eager to absorb the customs and traditions of each culture, as well as their respective ANTIQUITIES. During the reign of Communism in the then-named People’s Republic of Poland (1952 - 1989) supplies such as bread and meat were low, and yet corruption and greed were at all-time high. Edward worked in various forms of employment just to provide a roof to a family of four, including a brief occupation in RADIO.

Memories of the flat in POLAND belonging to Dzia Dzia are russet; to say they are always NOSTALGIC, filled with audio-visual sensations that tingle and delight with every flashback. The flat’s address was UL. MOZARTA 3M 911 02-736 WARSZAWA, named after Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (b. 1756 d. 1791), and led our family to believe that Edward was an ERUDITE after stories that he talked-back to teachers in school. Sharing a thirst for knowledge, Edward and I spent most of our childhoods in the museums, studying subjects from HISTORY to geography. Perhaps it was his method of imitating a tuba horn that ignited a brief fascination with learning a musical instrument before concentrating on ACADEMIA.

The blizzard conditions which greeted Adam's opening night might have affected the numbers in attendance, but failed to dampen the spirits of the night, nor cool the undoubted warmth of the show, of which Adam should be rightly proud.

The two Adams
Adam Kelly, his mum and dad, and "Grandfather"

Grandfather runs until February 2nd.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Adam Grüning - Designed For Life Private View

It was really great to see so many turn up to see Adam Grüning's solo show, "Designed For Life" at AirSpace last Friday, the show was really well received by all who came and a lovely and fitting conclusion to Adam's 6 month residency.

AirSpace Graduate Residency Show #1 - Adam Grüning "Designed For Life"

For the last six months, AirSpace has hosted two recent graduates, Adam Grüning and Adam Kelly,  as part of our new Graduate Residency Programme - an artist development scheme which offers new graduates free studio space, monthly support meetings and that all-important chance for a first solo show.

Throughout their time, both Adams have seen the nuts and bolts, the good and the bad and the highs and the lows of life in an artist-run gallery and studios. They've had the chance to exhibit in our window space, co-managed the AirSpace 2012 Studio Show, attended Frieze Art Fair and several TPWM events and got involved in Stoke's contemporary art festival, Conjunction '12. Now, at the end of their time comes their solo shows.

First up is Adam Grüning, and his exhibition, "Designed For Life

The show, spanning the two main gallery spaces and the window space is a mixture of photography and mixed media installation, exploring our modern relationship with objects and space, invoking notions of design, shopping and leisure-time, lifestyle and an idea of nature versus culture.

"This Will Go Well With", in Gallery 1 takes the form of four photographic vinyl prints depicting their respective, seemingly arbitrary, arrangements of objects beneath each of them. The objects range from the everyday (a video cassette) through to leisure (a boxing glove) to the kitsch (a porcelain siamese cat). Each tableau is meticulously arranged to recreate the image in the print above. Adam talks of being interested in how contemporary life seems to revolve around the purchasing of objects and the consumption of imagery.

Moving into Gallery 2, the theme of consumerism is continued, as we are confronted with several assorted houseplants, of the sort whose natural environment is B&Q or IKEA, as well as three large manipulated images depicting some of the plants and various household gadgets, such as blenders and liquidisers in alternative use as plant pots or holders. 

In "The Trichotomy of Everyday Life", Adam ascribes a sense of the inauthentic to this piece of work. The TV and houseplant setup and the unmistakeable smell of "Mountain Breeze" or "Woodland Glade" air freshener gives the viewer the feel of the "show-home" - an unnatural or fake representation of a real-life situation.

"Designed For Life" continues until Saturday 19th January.