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Review - exhibition - Moving paintings

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Christine Murray reviews the Artscape Project’s ‘Openness’ at Sketch Gallery in Mayfair, London
Until December 14th, Sketch Gallery, London W1

The Artscape Project is exhibiting in Sketch’s gallery and restaurant space in London’s Mayfair. ‘Openness’ features 360 degrees of silent video paintings by artists such as William Raban, Hilary Lawson, Sanchita Islam, Isabelle Inghilleri and Alex Bettler.

The works in ‘Openness’ balance stillness and movement; In Inghilleri’s Thin Ice, a barely frozen lake ripples, then stills; in Lawson’s Temporary Forest, a fire crackles as logs slowly burn and collapse. The films are streamed by an ingenious piece of specially designed software, which plays the works in a random order, loosely linked by themes and altered by the time of day.

The lack of narrative in the films is both disarming and meditative, just as Lawson, Artistic Director and founder of Artscape, intends. The video paintings by Artscape’s artists are intentionally devoid of shots or editing (the cameras never so much as shiver) and the prints run for a minimum of three minutes of real time.

The primacy of the philosophy behind these works can be explained by the group’s founder. Lawson is currently the vice-chair of the Forum for European Philosophy, and his philosophical theories on closure are closely linked to the exhibition’s theme of ‘Openness’.

In the clutter of Sketch, moments away from the Mayfair restaurant’s infamous ‘pod’ bathrooms, it is difficult to appreciate the unfolding beauty of these video works and their window onto the natural world. If you can block out distractions, they are worth a long look and the subtle joy of a painting that moves.

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