Review by Nigel Watson
Andy Meredith and Luke Walder, two Ocean Studios artists and recent Plymouth University graduates, present their inaugural exhibition
All images by Amber McCarthy, Plymouth University
144 Exhibition Online
The exhibition runs from 13th February to 6th March 2016, 12:00 – 17:00 Wednesday to Saturday at Ocean Studios, Royal William Yard, Plymouth, PL1 3RP. For public enquiries contact Fran Hawkesworth at email@example.com
There is also an opportunity to meet the artists on February 23rd, 17:30 at the Talking Heads event at the Bread and Roses, 62 Ebrington Street, Plymouth PL4 9AF
When I was at the Ocean Studios at the beginning of last year, the £4.2 million flagship project at the Royal William Yard was still in the throes of construction. You needed a hard hat, boots and a hi-vis jacket to see this Grade I listed building being transformed into an art gallery, sales area and studios for artists.
We can now appreciate the fruits of these labours, which have sympathetically integrated the demands of this artistic hub with the original fittings and fabric of the building. In the same manner, Andy Meredith and Luke Walder’s new 144 exhibition, is a subtle tribute to this creative environment.
Andy and Luke are both graduates of Fine Art at Plymouth University, and halfway through their 12-month residency at Ocean Studios they have produced a body of work that reflects their feelings and perceptions of this setting.
Artists Andrew Meredith and Luke Walder
144 exhibition at Ocean Studios
The first canvas, ‘Catalogue’ depicts unexceptional and everyday objects that they see everyday in their working surroundings. They include fire extinguishers, an electric kettle, a chair, even a keyhole that are given a splash of colour to highlight their impact.
As Andy observed, ‘the exhibition is about exploring the building, the environment and ourselves in the Ocean Studios. Catalogue is about the different things and objects here that we mostly ignore or take for granted. They are overlooked and we have put them in our most colourful creation, to highlight them. It is a way of looking inside and how we relate to things.’
Following from ‘Catalogue’ are depictions of lines and walls and a muted colour canvas titled ‘Right’ of a young woman sitting apprehensively on a chair, with her legs crossed, hands on her knees. Her shadow flows and drips towards the bottom of the frame.
Luke explained that; ‘We have a close collaboration process. It’s a symbiotic creation process where we discuss ideas, improve them and get guidance from each other as to whether something is working or not. It’s hard to imagine working without this type of input from Andy.’
Since the setting is so important, their work is quite discrete and humble in the face of building with such a strong nautical history. It blends with its lines and reflections, and is often playful in its simplicity. There is a monochrome video of them on a seesaw, opposite to a plank of wood titled ‘Seesaw’ suspended from the ceiling. You hardly notice it is part of the exhibition as it seems part of the building, and even more cunning is ‘144’ a chalk line on the floor. Not many noticed it, some at the gallery even stood on it, yet this literally underlines their fascination with place, location and meaning.
‘Catalogue’, by Luke Walder