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In Review: In Quotes at East GalleryNUA

In Review: In Quotes at East GalleryNUA

Writing & Photography by Margaret Belle, BA (Hons) Architecture.

I had the pleasure of attending the private view for ‘IN QUOTES: collage and assemblage in contemporary art’ and right off the bat it is one of my favourite East Gallery NUA exhibitions to date. ‘IN QUOTES’ offers commentary on how we often share videos, images and music online, presenting them as our own, through the medium of collage.

In Quotes

By piecing them together in our own unique way, one’s online presence becomes a collage, a curation if you will, expressing ‘an individual sense of self’. This thing we do, this collaging so to speak, is something done so regularly and yet I’ve never thought about our online activity in this way. It’s almost as if it’s become an involuntary reaction, practically second nature.

In Quotes

It is this notion of collage that is at the heart of the exhibition, so whilst works range from the pre-internet era and ‘Post-internet art’; this act of assemblage has not fundamentally changed over time. Only that the Web (as well as other technological advances) have allowed us to do this with much more ease and at a higher frequency. The main come away is to be conscious of the fact that ‘social media has made ventriloquists of us all’ since we constantly appropriate that of which is authored by another. Though it’s easy to assume our online personalities are merely an imposter of ourselves, our personal feeds in turn essentially reflect the unique existence of the individual. This has meant that, the way in which we communicated online, has ‘become a shared language, a common tongue.’

In Quotes

The social awareness of this exhibition is manifested by a range of artists, concurrently in various ways. An artist in particular that stands out is Cristina Garrido’s ‘Veil of Invisibility’, which consists of meticulously painting over museum gift shop postcards. Clement Greenburg, essayist and art critic, who has written in-depth on the subject of collage describes the most successful outcomes as those that ‘fuse the illusion with the picture plane without derogation of either – in principle.’ And in my mind Garrido achieves this with a sense of great effortlessness.

I am particularly fond of the floral collages of Linder, whom NUA had the pleasure of exhibiting last year at the British Art Show 8. I also love co-curator, Ann-Marie James’, more delicate yet sculptural, monochrome, woven-like collages.

In Quotes

Additionally, as a long-time fan of Cornelia Parker, it’s an absolute honour to have her considered ‘Shared Fate’ piece in the gallery, which looks at collage in an alternate unconventional way. There’s also something rather magnificent yet playful about the gold ink residual accents, gently littered across rough seascapes appropriated by Susan Hiller.

The way in which, Alex March and John Stezaker have chosen to disfigure the subjects of their portrait-style collages bring me much intrigue also. Thanks to the East Gallery’s NUA Dr Caroline Fisher for curating such an exquisite exhibition as well as her team; Claire, Simon Newby, Thomas Smith and the gallery assistants. And many thanks for Karsten Schubert, London for making the show possible.

photo of alum Margaret Belle standing on path and smiling at camera with street in background with shaved head and round black frame glasses and an open fleece coat

Margaret Belle

"NUA means opportunity. An opportunity to engage with something you desire to explore; in every way possible through the support of the university"