Showcasing the work of emerging and mid-career artists, Standpoint gallery is a place where, as a practising artist or gallery goer, your tastes and complacency are regularly challenged.
The Mark Tanner Sculpture Award is one of the most significant awards in the UK for emerging artists, offering £8,000 towards new work and a solo show. The prize is focused on work that demonstrates a commitment to process, or sensitivity to material. Last year’s winner Kate Lyddon, whose solo show is now on display at the gallery, is better known for her narrative and characterisation work in drawing and painting but has emerged into a sculptor.
According to the gallery’s Curatorial Director Fiona MacDonald the judges, including the departing Director of Tate Britain Penelope Curtis, were “impressed by [Lyddon’s] intuitive sense and use of materials, and the immediacy of her characterisation.”
MacDonald sees in Lyddon’s work “a kind of polarisation between the possibility of innocence and loveliness/sweetness, and the dark, odd, disturbed and disgusting aspects of human behaviour.”
Personally for me the most interesting aspect of Lyddon’s work is how she works with ‘a loose subject’, using aesthetic seduction and repulsion, chaos and order.
Her characters exist at the extremes of possibility, or the “surreality of our existence, how that experience manifests in human behaviour and social interaction… the madness and crudeness of the world,” according to MacDonald.
Lyddon doesn’t seek out ‘characters’, but allows many varied overlapping impressions and experiences of people, all of which surprise her as she works.
Glamorous outerwear is fused with grotesque features, and these sculptures are clothed in the ritualistic fashions of tribal belonging: sports team costumes, military uniforms or carnival fancy dress, worn wrong.
She is further informed by responding to materials’ limitations and the problems they throw up, disrupting clear narratives, and leading her away from initial subjects to unexpected solutions.
Kate Lyddon is the sort of challenge I look forward to, and the kind of artist always likely to to do well at a forward-thinking gallery like Standpoint, particularly with MacDonald at the helm.
Until 30 May 2015
45 Coronet Street, Hoxton, N1 6HD