Never Mind The Baubles at Ink_d Gallery

Every Christmas we find ourselves striving to find that little “bargain buy” or that “gift for that perfect person” in large retail shops. But, as discussed widely in documentaries from all over the world, the constant buying and bulk-buying of unnecessary items made all over the world is undoubtedly negatively effecting the environment, the human lives of those making it and the lives of those consuming.

From the outset, Ink_d have successfully tapped into our inquisitive nature with a simple sign:

“Some art for Xmas or some mass produced tat?”

Not necessarily a particularly eloquent statement but certainly one that piqued my interest and got me in the door. Once in, the distinction and focus was on the artists allowing each artist to have their own section of the gallery. This took the gallery environment slightly out of focus and instead was slightly reminiscent of marketplace.

The weird thing is that really I didn’t mind. It was done with a sensitivity that was loyal to the exhibiting artists and had a good balance between the necessity of displaying stock and also still being loyal to the artwork displayed. From an observer's point of view one could start to see patterns in the work that I haven’t seen before, showcasing the wealth of artists and pieces they have on offer. As well as the familiar Ink_d roster of Sarah Shaw, Grande Dame, Andy Doig, Modern Toss, Req and Ryan Callahan it allowed a perfect environment to exhibit some new artists.

Tim Goffe was one new artist whose paintings caught my eye. His pieces have a very Ed Ruscha feel, exploring and examining urban environments with simply composed urban snapshots. Though the content seems to be very simple, there is something about the painting style that caught me. “Aggregate” is particularly effective, the wooden fence in the foreground, natural form of the tree with the crane in the background spoke to me of humanity’s dominance over the landscape. Though the new works of Tim Fawcett’s paintings and Ben Dickon’s entertaining linocuts of various cult figures certainly deserve a commendable mention.

Protest and a feeling of futility seems to be reflected in this exhibition, a feeling that is starting to take hold in wider society. Carrie Reichardt’s pieces captured the fury of the fracking protestors and a call to “come riot with me”, Andy Doig’s heart in a cage, Sarah Shaw’s examinations of protests and Grande Dame’s Burning Man textiles - a festival associated with a rejection of capitalism – all point towards a feeling of the time instability and depression.

The sheer power of the artists is of great merit to the gallery and the market environment makes sense. A cynic might say it is to show as much of the stock as possible, I would say with the power of the work they have, they knew they just had to let it speak for itself.

Well done Ink_d: a great Christmas show.