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Light / Dark

Annely Juda Fine Art: 8 November - 14 December 2017

Annely Juda Fine Art presents a group show exploring a fundamental principle of art making, light and dark. A somewhat obvious notion, but the work in this show demonstrates a variety of creative applications to such a simple theme. Featuring work from 1960s to present day, the range in media and technology makes for interesting relationships to be drawn between artworks.

Stefen Gec, A Glass Index III, 2015, aluminium and glass valves, 2 parts, 35cm diameter each, (Annely Juda Fine Art)

Bright neon lights of the work of Francois Morellet engulf the 4th floor space. So bright, it is heavenly. But it is Stefan Gec’s piece ‘A Glass Index III’ (2015) which is most intriguing. Made from what looks like inverted light bulbs, constructed into two spheres with their aluminium prongs facing outwards and glass valves squashed in the middle. The spheres do not emit light but appear to almost absorb it. Removed of their original function, the light-bulb structures appear like mines that have been pulled from the sea, discovered laying dormant underwater for decades.

Francois Morellet, Sous-Prématisme nº 3, 2010, acrylic on wood, 29 white neon tubes, ed. 1/3, 170 x 145 cm, (Annely Juda Fine Art)

From man-made light to natural light, Roger Ackling’s work ‘Voewood’ (2011) harnesses the sun. Ackling brings the outside world inside the gallery space by burning designs into found pieces of driftwood. Simple, peaceful, and eccentric.

Downstairs in the Dark room on the 3rd floor, there is only so much you can play with the idea of darkness, the absence of colour, and variations of black. The most interesting way to think about darkness is in terms of texture. David Nash’s ‘Black Well’ (2007) stands amongst other gallery visitors like mute figures acting as an in-between, connecting artwork and spectator. Gloria Friedmann’s piece ‘Nuit Norie’ (2007) drew me in as I tried to figure out what it was made from. Layers and layers of black raven feathers squashed into a glass frame and mounted on the wall like a prize. Some are perfect and some are imperfect, crumpled, withering, old. The effect is alluring as you want to reach out and run your fingers over the tiny hairs but the glass, and conventions of a gallery, prevent you. There is a depth created by pockets of darkness formed by the layering of the feathers, which makes you go ‘Oh, feathers, cool!' And isn’t that the whole idea?

This article was first published in SEE:ONE, The Courtauldian’s printed publication. You can find the full first issue of SEE here:

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