19 January — 1 March 2009

Animated includes work by artists which is grounded in contemporary culture and prods and pokes at our everyday existence with a mischievousness and gentle humour. With Jo Addison, Julie Brenot, Matt Cook, Sarah Evans, Simon Liddiment, Anne-Mie Melis, Alex Pearl and Simon Woolham.


Jo Addison is an artist who transforms ordinary, modest objects into imaginary alternatives, challenging our perceptions of our everyday surroundings.  As tour guide, she invites the viewer to see the humour and elegance in the mis-spelt, the crossed-out, the improvised or the handmade.  In the work Services, a cardboard turntable suggests perhaps a desolate landscape.  Her juxtaposition of celebration, humour, the unsavoury and the commonplace becomes an uplifting experience. 

Julie Brenot explores the territory between fiction and reality.  Referencing visual, pop and music culture, she takes recognisable objects and alters them slightly.  The featured works include a series of paintings and installations using already existing pictures, novels, vinyl records and posters which are then reinterpreted to tease, puzzle and deceive the viewer in a light hearted way. For example in one work, If you think I don't know what you want me to do, she appropriates 9 novels of Vladimir Nabokov's "La transparence des choses", using the power and fascination it exerts on the viewer’s imagination. 

Matt Cook works primarily in performance and sound.  His work explores rhythmic structures in site-specific situations, capturing the daily cycle of everyday life, then animating it and replaying it back.  His work invites us to observe, reconsider, question and appreciate the nuances of our everyday surroundings.  In Map Wysing Event, a new work created for this exhibition, Cook spent 5 days at Wysing Arts Centre, exploring the countryside inside a circle of 5 miles in  diameter around the centre, recording the sounds he heard on his walks.  This new composition captures the everyday sounds of the local area.

Sarah Evans investigates light, space, movement and time as it appears in nature, and then transforms it, creating new and imaginary environments using drawing, animation and sound. Infected with something beautiful: part one is a looping, hand drawn, color pencil, animation that has been created specifically for the iPod. The film is a low tech, silent, slight and playful intervention for what is a familiar contemporary audio technology, with the sense of sound inferred through rhythm, flow, pulse, and breath.  Evans’ work  reveals imaginary hidden places, creating chance encounters for the audience that imply the minuteness of what is known compared to the unknown.

Simon Liddiment works conceptually using diverse materials. Typically, his work takes the point of departure in familiar identities and materials, which he then manipulates discreetly, exploring the humour in everyday objects and playfully re-interpreting them.  For example in the piece entitled 1, he presents a visual pun with an economy that belies the painstaking and careful decision making process involved in creating the work. Or in another work Feint Horizon Liddiment has carefully redrawn an A4 ruled sheet on a larger piece of paper, framed in a solid box. By redrawing the note paper he is discreetly reinventing its daily function. Though still recognizable, the paper is all of a sudden suggesting a feint horizon.

Anne-Mie Melis explores scientific, environmental and ethical issues in an objective and unbiased way using primarily drawing, sculpture, animation and photography.  Focusing specifically on plants, she has been working with plant geneticists to explore the visual nature of genetically engineered plants.  In the animation series A Case of blushing, New Window, How to conform, she explores the possibility of how our everyday surrounding plants might evolve and develop into something entirely different. Her playful yet slightly disturbing work falls somewhere between science and art, natural creation and interference, raising questions about the engineering of nature into a new world.  

Alex Pearl explores the acceptance of failure or disappointment as important parts of the human condition.  The works presented here are a mix of epic mini films, installation and sculpture that make light of big issues and are in turn both haunting and funny.  In Sing, an animation film, a lollipop stick sings a haunting lullaby, yet there are five different versions, all performed separately on five different screens.  Like an out of synch barbershop quartet, the work is playful yet acknowledges its own limitations and a hopeless desire for greatness. 

Simon Woolham is concerned with occupied spaces, the environment that surrounds us and the narratives that unfold within them.  Through biro drawings, paper interventions, animations, for example school playing fields, junked underpasses, broken fences, and worn paths, he unearths the unpredictable and fragile process of memory, bringing to life familiar scenes and motifs with humour and wit. In his pop-ups an often hilarious universe of grotesque stories and situations are made public. For example the pop-up work entitled We bought a load of fireworks and let them off in the sheds, it only went a bit wrong highlights in a humorous way the fragility of human social behavior.

With thanks to Taylor Vinters, Kettle’s Yard Gallery, Cambridge and the Cambridge Film Trust for their support.