Catherine Borowski’s white banisters are lined up along the concrete floor in rows, which gives a strange illusionary quality to them and eerily evokes the rows of graves at a war memorial site. Banisters could also signify a passage of ascension or descent; stairways are somewhere you rarely stop on, they are part of a journey. Seriously, actually, when you consider ‘the banister’ in isolation there is more to them than you think. Everyone can project their own memories on these inanimate objects. The Artist said she was always jealous of friends that had stairs as a child, it signified a more comfortable living, having grown up in a flat on an estate. Also, she said, her mother was buried in a memorial graveyard in the Middle East, where Borowski was never to find her gravestone.
Another piece is a clothes rail built into a section of wall. Assorted hangers are on the rail, some with clothes on them, some with their dry-cleaning plastic covers on. A framed print of human figures lies on its side on the ground. The blurb tells the story of the day Borowski cleaned her mother’s wardrobe out after she had passed, found 45 years worth of hangers and a Henry Moore sketch never to have been hung on a wall stuffed in a plastic bag behind the clothes.
On the walls around the banister installation are the artworks of Lee Baker, whose style evolved out of a passion for Manga among other things. His most recent output is along the Japanese theme of ‘Mono’ (or transience). These are large floral pieces, which leave the canvas with an unfinished look. Most are dramatic and scaled up, bold, stylised flowers, on bleak, winter-like backgrounds. The rough surfaces mimic rust and concrete and are a perfect foil to the smooth block colours of the floral shapes on top. He has taken this approach one stage further in the installation on the back wall. An old mattress is the canvas, with the stalk of the Chrysanthemum running onto a piece of chipboard and an old ripped sheet below. There is a wooden palette and other building materials arranged around them in a disused state. Materials you might find in a squat perhaps.
On the right wall are a series of pieces by Baker from 2015. They are scaled down, framed, detailed sections of stripped wall, the kind you would find in a house halfway through renovation after the stripper has been used. A nice simile with the banisters somehow. Its always a pleasure to find sixties wallpaper which wouldn’t have looked out of place in Del Boy’s flat under the surface of the obligatory magnolia upper coat. It’s a lingering memory, a visual history of the people who lived the place. Also too, it is a micro history, here depicted in micro form. Each brick in the fresco model versions are about a fingerprint in length.
In the backroom is an installation by Olivia Hegarty. A jungle of what looks like starched paper, or white fabric, is dangling from string at all different heights. When you touch it, and you cant avoid it as they are purposefully packed into the room, the material crumbles. It’s brittle and you realise its something else, it’s filo pastry. A frivolous, beautiful idea and the shadows dance in the light.
You Get What You’re Given @The Hoxton Arches.
Thanks to Nathan Sonic for the incredible photos.