Sex, wire, wood, junk and jollity

Exhibition Review: Margaret Nolan and James Fleming at the Town Hall Theatre

A work from the new exhibition at the Town Hall Theatre bar.

A work from the new exhibition at the Town Hall Theatre bar.

SCULPTURE AND sex, wire and wood, junk and jollity, all combine to lively and pleasurable effect in the Town Hall bar’s art exhibition by Margaret Nolan and James Fleming.

Nolan’s mixed-media images and sculptures continue her recent Rapture series which both romps in carnality and considers it calmly. Her small scale close-up drawings focusing on individual body parts or couplings are rendered in candy-bright shades.

“I didn’t want to use flesh tones” she told me when I asked about this. “I chose five vibrant colours. I thought flesh tones would make them voyeuristic. The colours I chose were more about the expression, the sexual moment. I did the drawings first, I used to draw every day, not really knowing how they were going to be. Then after a few months drawing I knew it was time to paint and make sculpture, I guess they were kind of research.”

One viewer of the sculptures described them as “rude and lovely” which is an apt description. Featuring wire-worked figures on wooden bases, one depicts a frolicsome threesome where a gal is being pleasured by two carnal enthusiasts and another shows a gal in masturbatory bliss, her back arched upwards as she ecstatically self-touches. The wire medium conveys the suppleness of the human figure and is a remarkable blend of anonymity and intimacy. That ‘rude and lovely’ comment reminds one that ‘rude’ doesn’t just mean impolite or vulgar but healthy as in the phrase ‘rude good health’. Margaret Nolan’s art abounds with just that healthy rudeness.

charlie rude exhibition

James Fleming’s witty, funky, playful and inventive sculptures are a joy. Assembled from discarded bric a brac and junk (or, as he bluntly said himself at the exhibition opening ‘a load of shite’ ) they show that sometimes silk purses can indeed be made from sow’s ears. A gas canister becomes a pig, two battered canvas sneakers become a pirate ship; fire alarms, buckets, rusty appliances and throwaway plastic doo-dahs are salvaged and combined in surprising, funny, and imaginative ways.

These two artists send viewers home with a smile (rude or otherwise ) on their face.

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