Graham Hutchinson’s latest exhibition at the Norman Rea Gallery I Think We Should See Other People began this week with an impressively open, yet creative and humorous talk from the artist himself. Aided by the free wine and genuinely brilliant mixture of people who’d turned up for the opening, the show went on without a hitch. His work – making use of paper collage and obscured facial features – interrogates, often in a very corporeal way, the relationships we have with other humans through the subversion of what’s often considered to be the dominant indication of emotion: facial expression. In examining what it means for people to interact without this, many questions are raised, though perhaps this lack of facial expression is all the more prominent given that in our age of digital communication it’s exactly these expressions which are often denied to us.
Clinging to the corners of the gallery, these deliberately unframed works use familiar and often nostalgic imagery in order to guide us into questioning many of our own social aspects; heightened when stood next to the artist himself along with scores of eager viewers, it would be difficult to make ideas of communication and medium any more prevalent. However, even if we’re to look at his work without considering meaning, on a purely formal level, they still hold great interest.
With the collages being as rough as they are, and a lot of them being stuck onto the inside of disused books, an authentically home-made feel is given to the works; arguably something of a relief in the current contemporary art scene. Furthermore, with rips and burns in the paper, the abundance of imperfection does lend itself to charm, or even beauty, which would be denied by perfect sheets of plain white A4 paper, or white frames, which one could so easily imagine having been used instead. Curated beautifully too, without presenting neither information plaques nor equal, uniformed space between the works, the curation works in parallel with the formal qualities of each piece, granting a uniformity to the exhibition as a whole, much in the same way as the social awkwardness of no faces is mirrored by the works clustering into corners.Overall, I’ve no doubt as to the success of the exhibition and furthermore, given all the work is for sale, and at very reasonable prices, it’s undoubtedly worth a look.J.O’S
I think We should See Other People will be open until the 19th of February located in the Norman Rea gallery within the University of York; see website for details: http://www.thenormanreagallery.co.uk/ .
Graham’s personal website: http://www.grahamhutchinson.blogspot.co.uk/
Below is Rosalind Hayes’ visual response to the exhibition. Please click here if you would like to see a large, higher quality image of her artwork.