Elson's installation is quite eerie. Four white walls are riddled with metal hat pins supporting unusual heads, each casting a shadow to multiply the mystery. It looks as if every one of them, and there seems to be hundreds, has been thrown like a dart into the wall and left to quiver. On close inspection we find a collection of miniature sculptures but that doesn't wipe away the eerie sense of it all.
The artist has fashioned copper, silver, bronze, aluminium and gold into replicas of pods and nuts, grasses and root tendrils, and the occasional insect or half formed frog. All appear to be withered or dead and it's this sense of the macabre that fascinates. As we walk along a wall the objects take on a half-life as they seem to be emerging, growing, out from the walls. We expect them to shiver in the breeze of our passing but they remain rigid with rigor mortis. Yet, dread evaporates as we are compelled to stop here and there, to inspect a withered stalk in an effort to identify the dead bloom, or marvel at the antennae of a tiny bronze beetle. And through this examination we discover the excellent workmanship in each object. Elson is a jeweller, a sculptor of the miniature, an artist that is prepared to present her work in an unusual setting. And it all works.
Behind the divider Robertson offers ten small oil paintings and three charcoal drawings of views of New York City. The artist has successfully captured the atmospheric essence of a rooftop view of other empty rooftops and the street below. His selection of colours is adept as Rust reds and Guano greys, reminds us that most of the older buildings in the Big Apple are held together by an accumulation of corrosion and pollution. And it is this display of a reverse view; the haze filtered daylight instead of the bright neon night lights that gives the work an honesty and makes the painting more attractive. Then too, the absence of any human presence says much about the loneliness and sense of detachment often found in a big city.
Of the paintings, the East River Studio View, NY is a fine composition of light in the softest blue/greys hues. Here we are invited to walk along a wall of windows that overlook a still river to the bank beyond. And the drawing World Trade Towers, NY takes on a whole new significance in light of the events that took place on the day we viewed this exhibition.
Both these shows offer a measure of 'something lost' but in the losing, a discovery of an unexpected gain.
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