The Lollipop People

PREVIEW PARTYAs well as this temporary exhibition space having something a bit ‘Alice in Wonderland’ about it, the chosen theme ‘childhood’ was born from a searching for a subject which all artists share, regardless of background, medium, age, or interest. But this goes deeper than merely having once all been a child.

As adults we more than often base our functions on previously developed behavioral patterns, culturally, socially or creatively. Reproducing what is in front of us, edging away from creating anything new. You could say that we become habitual. But in actuality, imagination, as the basis of all creative activity, is an important component of all aspects of cultural life, enabling artistic, scientific, and technical creation alike.

A child constantly reorganizes their environment in order to understand it. Building, cutting, sticking, moulding, role play and  fantasy form the basic authentic modes of creativity. A re-working to construct a new reality, which he conforms to his own needs and desires. Sound familiar artists?

We know that mark making is instinctive. It was our first literacy. We see it in cave paintings. ‘Line of Flight’, one of Von Brasch’s gestural coloured pencil drawings, reminds us of that ‘authentic’ creative exploration. His mark making follows a experiential process, tracing the character of ‘presence’ and appearances in time.

But its not only process driven works which highlight these themes. An adult  Nostalgia  of childhood forms the basis of part of the works on display. Gray’s collages reference a real childhood memory. One night she asked Jesus if he would breath life into her teddy so she would speak to her. He didn’t.  Whether this was the turning point in Gray’s miracle beliefs or not, it highlights a moment when we might stop believing.

Believing in what you ask? Fairy tales? Dreams? Imaginings?

A horses head on a human’s body? Dixcey performs in her painting what culture has imagined and printed through the ages. The human embodiment of animals. Rupert, Mickey, Paddington. By describing personality through animals we decipher good from bad, trustworthy from untrustworthy, the scary lion from the fluffy bunny. We are preparing our children for the adult world.

Traxler’s tangled web of torn pages from classic fairy tales focuses on the ever- prevalent princess in distress and her gallant prince to the rescue. Her installation questions adult conditioning and we must ask ourselves, How far do we go to inflict our own fantasies on children to prepare them for adult hood?

Grimaldi’s ‘Vacated puppets’ and Crow’s fragile ceramic figurines reference Victorian play things. Yet there is something haunting about their quality. Perhaps it’s because  they represent love able, playful objects but we know that if mistreated or dropped they become broken and sharp or just, empty. In his photographic works, Chris jones discusses these ideas and presents the child in dark, vulnerable environments.

But what about simple, unquestionable fun? the surreal sculpture ‘moo bridge Diorama’ by Julie Alice  Chappell, the photographic series by Chris Eyles, and the love of found objects by Jo Willoughby tell us that being creative is sometimes just born out of enjoyment. Essentially its play. Elisha and Harvey’s film reminds us not to take our selves too seriously.

It is a personal journey, one spurred by a visit to the loft or a found lost shoe, but we hope that these thoughtful works might take you back through the wardrobe to that foreign country we call childhood.

The Lollipop People is an independent artist lead initiative making use of an otherwise redundant space and your support is greatly appreciated.

Joanne Hummel-Newell

Ryde Arts FestivalRyde Council