Allotments
Review
by Frances Ashton, Left Lion, January 2008
www.leftlion.co.uk

The cold clean studios at Harrington Mill have converted a small domestic size room into a project space, but for this exhibition it’s a cabinet of curiosities. However this no relaxing ‘living-room’ as the first artwork that catches my eye is a small embroidered handkerchief which encourages its viewers to “Go on cry, you’ll piss less”.

For this is no ordinary exhibition, it is rather a collection of artworks, curated online where 15” by 15” temporary ‘plots’ were offered on a first come first served basis. This is co-incidental exhibition with its hanging left to fate, is the experiment of volunteer Co-ordinator Kathryn Mason.

Despite each artist owning their own individual ‘allotment’, these plots clearly contribute to the space as a whole with an exciting mixture of artworks on display considering the lack of control over submissions. With several artists owning multiple slots, Steffie Richards’ small scale model houses are unique, inviting visitors to redesign and rename their own housing estate as research for her MA at Nottingham Trent University.

Chris Parkes, artist in residence, has taken the notion of allotments literally to produce a work of art whose organic shoots and spindles push and grow through the earth overtime. Also ‘growing’ in these allotments is Michelle Greenwood’s ‘Helianthus annus’, a large sunflower made from intricate crochet and beading.

With submissions from all over the country, this exhibition offers a broad survey of contemporary art, as well as constituting an interesting enquiry into curatorship.

Allotments took place at Harrington Mill Studios on 14 to 16 December 2007. See this exhibition rehung at Long Eaton Town Hall from 19 to 30 January 2008