Mark Handforth at The Modern Institute, Glasgow
“Clearly, sculptures by definition are stuff; and stuff is really a manifestation of desire, it is the stuff of carefully considered desire. And somewhere within these things lurk all those other more human ideas…despair, hope, force, possibility, failure…and the sculptures become vessels for those too.”
Mark Handforth’s third exhibition at The Modern Institute includes five new sculptural forms within the Osborne Street gallery space, which develop from the idea of the garden, and in particular, Handforth’s own tropical garden in Miami.
Two large sculptural pieces – ‘Jade Garden’ and ‘Asphalt Snake’ – resemble oversized, crumpled and chopped pipes – anthropomorphic in form they search for a point of balance. Disarming one-another through their duality – the physical monumentality of ‘Ashpalt Snake’ almost dissolves into the space through its subtle, mottled pink hue glaze, whereas the opaque glazed layers of paint neutralise the simplicity of the crumpled geometric form of ‘Jade Garden’. Allusive but non-representational, these pieces become about the essence of sculpture, as opposed to representations of objects.
Around these forms, two brass, curving lines are carefully balanced on the roof trusses. Vine like, they reach out towards the space between the two larger structures – like drawings in space, they twist and invert, pulling us in. These delicate forms hold the space, occupying it, the hard won balance and line in twisted defiance of gravity.
At the entrance of the gallery is a form of a cat, an illuminated neon light representing the flaming matchstick balanced diagonally on its head. Based on a small possession of Handforths, ‘Matchstick Cat’ is collaged from strips of painted and untreated wood, wall-based it resembles a shadow that embodies the spirit of the space.
Handforth utilises everyday forms within his work, exploring the possibility that a single object can exist simultaneously on sculptural, functional, and social levels. Light and its immaterial qualities are often an essential medium in Handforth’s works, highlighting the contrast of “weight” between it and the other elements they are made of, and substantially transforming the way we perceive them.
Handforth’s sculptures and installations make a continual reference to the urban landscape and to familiar elements within it, its essential features, which come to mind and which are immediately recognisable.
at The Modern Institute, Glasgow
until 25 August 2018