13 June – 16 July 2016
Artists: Katrina Beekhuis, Claudia Dunes, Richard Frater, Samer Hatam, John Ward Knox, Jeremy Leatinu’u, Shannon Novak, Jeena Shin, Sarah Smuts-Kennedy, Julia Teale
Curated by Balamohan Shingade
Malcolm Smith Gallery is named after the late local architect, community stalwart and founding member of UXBRIDGE in 1981. Architects envisage compelling futures and enjoy a particularly social role. It may even be said that theirs is an intrinsically social art form. Malcolm Smith envisaged a centre for his hometown that would be a beacon for the art and ideas of their day. From the beginning, and even until his passing in 2010, Smith made a priority of good architecture, and was involved in recommending building developments for UXBRIDGE. Once any alteration or improvement was accepted, Smith was always to be found contributing to its execution, from erecting the first crèche fence to the interior painting of the theatre. The UXBRIDGE complex, as it stood before the commencement of the redevelopment last year, reflected Smith’s involvement in every room of every building.
With a nod to its namesake, Soft Architecture brings together various artists whose works comprise of architectural references. The focus, here, is not on architects or buildings; instead, the exhibition brings together artists whose use of, and for architecture, is rather subtle. Some artists bring us to a discreet awareness of the spatio-temporal properties inherent in a site, whereas others explore the social missions of our built environments.Soft Architecture is concerned with those artworks which are deceptive in their restraint, but where apparent simplicity or lightness of touch belies the works’ rigour. The term ‘soft’ is expansive in its meaning. It describes material qualities, defines strategies of persuasion, and evokes character traits. Through the exhibition Soft Architecture, Malcolm Smith Gallery can be understood as a soft space, because its approach is to yield readily to touch; a smooth or pliable space that is responsive to wider contexts.
Image: Sarah Smuts-Kennedy, Subtle Field 1, 2014.