Last week I happened upon a new show at La Scatola Gallery in London. I’d been led to it after reading an interesting article by Ben Austin about relatively recent and emerging galleries, and on finding it was so close to Liverpool Street station (literally two minutes walk which is always important when on a rushed day visit down to the capital) I was sufficiently intrigued to go and visit.
It was well worth it; the gallery comprises a wonderful space and the current show with works by Vera Kox and Rowena Harris plays it to best advantage. Whilst there are just five exhibits, the vastness never overwhelms and allows the visitor to move freely and contemplatively amongst the works.
The pieces from each artist are described as initiating a dialogue between two individual practices. I wasn’t quite sure how to read this initially in view of the exhibition title “Punctuating”. I wondered whether the work had been produced quite literally as sequential responses to each other’s work in a form of visual dialogue.
When I thought about it later, I realized this was my natural contextual response, given my own interest in sequential visual dialogue. And my response to Rowena Harris’s Rose, Coco, Cherie 2012, for example, was to see this triptych of three digital prints as an ellipsis… defined as figure of speech characterized by the deliberate omission of a word or words that are, however, understood in light of the grammatical context. by the online Brittanica. I found it an interesting piece in the light of the show title.
There is an increasing trend to presenting work without immediately proximate titling or information, and it can be quite enlightening to tour exhibits without the benefit of background detail, and then circle again with more information to hand. But in the case of this show, I think I would have liked a little more contextual background to individual pieces.
As it happens, it didn’t matter in this case because I was able to have a good chat with the gallery’s Alp Gursoy who was a fount of knowledge and contributed a really interesting background to all the works. I’m always quite comfortable taking my own reading of any artwork but I invariably find that more information prompts deeper reflection over and above the simpler aesthetic response. But then, maybe it’s more valuable and fun to be able to actually discuss the work rather than just read a handout.
The show is on until 4 May. Well worth a visit.