Et Cetera – remarkable art from mundane materials

Stephen Gill_Off Ground Series_2011

Stephen Gill, 2011, Off Ground Series

‘And the rest’ is the literal translation of the Latin term ‘et cetera.’ The ‘rest’ depicted in this exhibition consists of a wealth of everyday objects. These are things you might find in a patch of urban wasteland: lichen, moss, bits of broken crockery, bricks, stones, and old thimbles.

The theme of the mundane physical world runs through the work of all five of the noted artists included in this show: Laura Culham, Stephen Gill, Colin Glen, Beatrice Haines and Janne Malmros.

Curator Tom Jeffreys says: “The works that make up Et Cetera concern themselves with marking that which is largely considered unremarkable. Et Cetera consists of a series of strategies of reappraisal – strategies that converge, for the most part, in an ability to find or create beauty in those oft-overlooked elements of the contemporary urban environment.”

Yet if the items represented here are not often the focus of city-dwellers, they are nevertheless imbued with stories.

The thimbles so carefully drawn by Beatrice Haines are tools used, one imagines, to darn countless generations of clothes.

The shards of blue and white crockery depicted in the meticulous work of Laura Culham may once have formed part of vessels that emptied seas of tea into thirsty mouths.

There is thus in these works an archaeology of the everyday, of use, disuse and reuse.

The nondescript bricks and stones shown in Stephen Gill’s series of photographs entitled Off Ground are in fact objects used as missiles during the August 2011 riots. Frozen on the page by a high-tech camera, these chunks of matter recall the buildings they once formed part of, the rubble into which they descended, and their eventual resurrection as bearers of momentary rage.

Behind the apparent simplicity of the works in this exhibition lurks a fascinating reflection on our relationship to the material world.

Et Cetera – A Reappraisal of the Mundane
20 April – 24 May
Hoxton Art Gallery
64 Charlotte Road
020 7739 6852