There is a calmness in the work of Gary Colclough. His quiet, beautiful sculptures encourage us to pause for a moment and reflect on “seeing”. Our daily lives are so overloaded with visual stimuli that our brain finds shortcuts, filtering the relevant information so we don’t need to concern ourselves with the details. In most instances, this is a wonderful device, leaving our minds free to process the other worries and interests of daily life. Material Symmetry, however, offers us a chance to take stock of the missed moments and the spaces in between.
Until recently, Colclough’s practice has struck a balance between drawing and sculpture; fine monochromatic pencil drawings were housed in crafted geometric frames. Gradually the balance of focus has shifted away from the drawings and onto the geometry and wooden framework. In this latest body of work he has removed the drawings almost entirely. In their place sit complimentary and contrasting panels of flat colour inspired by the investigations of Josef Albers and Johann von Goethe before him. Reflektor (pictured) takes as it’s basis one of Albers’ colour triangles which Colclough has carefully colour matched using a range of domestic interior heritage paints. This has then been reproduced again in mirror image after going through a tonal colour shift. The resulting effect of this is to create an exaggerated corner that appears dramatically lit on one side from an unknown source. Elsewhere in the exhibition This Immediate Future, This Immediate Past draws our attention to the interior architecture of the gallery space; vertical wooden slats form a triangle that echoes the wedge-shape that the descending staircase cuts into the space. Positioned at either end is a drawing of a picturesque landscape - a window onto a pastoral idyll rendered lifeless in reproduction - highlighting our continued struggle to reconnect with nature through both art and interior design.
When discussing originality in art and design, William Morris spoke of the “habit of the hand”, the idea being that the history of everything that has come before is ingrained on the artist's consciousness. Much like the brain searching for visual shortcuts in pursuit of efficiency, an artist can rely on familiar shapes, colours and motifs as a foundation on which to innovate. In Material Symmetry we find beauty in repetition and reassurance in the familiar, while our expectations are quietly subverted and we are encouraged to give everything a second, closer look.