Abode also applied the more curated approach in our display, creating a dialogue between the works to explore perceptions of abstraction. The stand displayed two female Russian artists; Maria Agureeva and Viktoria Ikonen alongside two male UK artists; Karl Bielik and Andrew Robinson and this sparked an interesting debate into the different countries approach to abstraction. This conversation was also taken into account in the curation, with Agureeva’s piece ‘Mirrors are Always an Illusion’ hung adjacent to Bielik’s ‘ Landfill’. The two pieces are both bold in their use of colour and line, however use very different approaches into creation and context. Augreeva’s pieces focus on the narration of a context; she is concerned with the process of objectification, as a result of our desire to change in order to escape social pressure. The artist shows how the body becomes a hybrid space where materiality of flesh is connected with an individual consciousness and identity. Meanwhile Bielik is less concerned with the meaning behind the pieces as his work is process driven. He takes inspiration from the studio itself and found materials that lie within, and his pieces often have long periods of incubation, giving them breathing space to develop. His expressive pieces are open to interpretation rather than have a definitive meaning and this is something reflected in Robinson’s work. Robinson’s oil paintings dissects reality into its smallest constituents and then reassembled with intention to engage viewers to create their own narratives. His more subtle use of paint creates a lighter approach in contrast to Bielik’s, and the placement of Robinson’s piece opposite Bielik forms a conversation into the use of paint and form. Ikonen’s paintings have a similar subtleness to it; her moody, transcendental landscapes explore the ideas of duality in painting and the world around us.
Abode’s selection of artists not only provided a solid narrative to the stand but returned to technique and form over a heavily informed context made a refreshing change and stand out among the other exhibitors. The overall effect equalled a mini exhibition into abstraction due to the cohesion of artists selected, and it is this the overlap between exhibition and commerciality that Start does so well. It showcases galleries and artists for their artistic merit rather than just commercial value and is a vital platform to the promotion of emerging artists and galleries. This mission is something reflected in Abode’s own aims making it the perfect opportunity to present our artists on an international level.
by Claire Walker