‘Art of Science’ Exhibition Review, Unit Twelve
I wrote at the start of the month about the ‘Art of Science’ exhibition opening at Unit Twelve in Staffordshire this month. Featuring a number of artists and designers who take inspirations from various aspects of the scientific realm, this exhibition will run from 12th January until 22nd April.
Art of Science
If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of visiting Unit Twelve, in the heart of the Staffordshire countryside, then I would definitely recommend it for your 2017 creative destination list. And if, like me, you are even slightly geeky, or science oriented, or interested in some of the more macabre aesthetics, this would be the perfect exhibition for you.
As with all of the previous exhibitions in this space there is a wide range of artists and designers on display here. Gallery owner, Jennifer Collier, has curated an eclectic mix of works which all interplay beautifully within the space.
Pieces such as Jennie McCall‘s porcelain bird’s nest, bird skulls, and collection of bones feel at home within the rural setting of the gallery. As we progress into the spring months the serene motorised pieces of BLOTT WORKS that have fans creating a wistful breeze through sprigs of lavender will feel especially appropriate. And the tiny test tubes filled with various organic findings by Steven Bradley evoke memories of childhood exploration and are incorporated into to an intriguing range of jewellery.
There is also a good mix of work that straddles the spectrum from fine art to functional item. As such there is also jewellery by Libby Ward, and Julia Smith, and framed pieces ready to grace your walls. As a casual entomology enthusiast I could easily see the framed collection of mixed media butterflies and insects of Naomi Greaves finding a home among my art collection.
I particularly coveted a piece by Vinegar & Brown Paper. The science inspired glass vessels, engraved with inventive labels have a wit that is perfectly matched with the overall themes of the exhibition and the mix of science and creativity. While the bottles of ‘Stomach Butterflies’ and ‘Lost Marbles’ are appropriately filled, other bottles remain empty – willing receptacles for the liquid of your choice. I think I will be saving up for the large bottle labelled ‘Procrastination (undiluted)’ which is just crying out to be filled with some sweet homemade damson gin.
As I said, I love bugs! In another life I was probably an entomologist. Maybe there’s still time for me to retrain…. But in the meantime, I find myself drawn, like a hungry bird, to anything that includes bugs and insects. And I wasn’t disappointed with this exhibition. There was the cocoon-like textiles of Laura Mabbutt, and the ceramic wall beetles of Anna Collette Hunt, as well as the intriguing glass blocks engraved with various designs of Nancy Sutcliffe – I am starting a project on bees myself, so the piece with the delicate bee and honeycomb design was especially interesting.
Perhaps my favourite insect inspired pieces in this exhibition were those of Jillian Riley. Her porcelain vessels feature exquisitely drawn insects, from beetles to spiders, and are finished with a copper oxide were exquisitely executed.
I was fortunate to make it to the PV of this exhibition. And if you can in future, I would always recommend them. It is never just drinks and networking at a Unit Twelve PV, and there is always a creative activity, inspired by the work on display. Even if you can’t afford to purchase a piece from the exhibition (that is not to say, that it is not all very reasonably priced!), you can always create your own to take home with you. At this event, there was an opportunity to fill your own test tube with natural forms.
Yet, these PV taster creative projects are just a precursor to the other workshops provided in conjunction with the additional exhibition programme at Unit Twelve. Alongside a number of mixed media workshops run by Collier and Iain Perry’s, Print Garage, in the upcoming months there will be a Nature Necklace Workshop, Libby Ward (25th February), Lino Print Lepidoptera workshop with Naomi Greaves (4th March), and Hollow Felt Forms workshop, Laura Mabbutt (22nd April).
If innovative art and design is a passion, or even if you just have a curious interest, you will not be disappointed by the relaxed and welcoming atmosphere at Unit Twelve. While this particular exhibition speaks to a number of my personal aesthetic tastes that is not to say that is doesn’t have a more universal appeal. Once again, Collier and her colleagues at Unit Twelve have delivered a dynamic and inspired exhibition showcasing some intriguing and enthralling works that co-exist in a cohesively curated exhibition space.