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Look About - Stour Valley Arts Gallery

Posted by Camilla Brueton, Thursday 14th June, 2012

close up of hair grips, pinned inside a display case.

Last week, with Jon Adams, I went to see his current Look About Show at Stour Valley Arts Gallery in Ashford Kent.

Travelling down on the train together, we caught up on many things Accentuate, as Jon logged our journey in his notebook- taking account of the stops the train made, as well as points of our conversation. Although I had many questions for Jon, he also turned the tables on me, asking me to pause and think about what I’d learnt over the past 12 months?

His show at the Stour Valley Arts Gallery is a mix of digital artworks, showing details taken from his vast Accentuate mapping exercise, accompanied by cases of ‘fossils’, items found along Jon’s travels, meticulously displayed, pinned in place within wall mounted frames, or huddled together in a 3 tiered, glass fronted wooden cabinet. The show also features a few installations and video work- including an interview with Jon, and Transmission 1 & 2, drawing out the faults and geological formations around in the everyday, most of which go undetected by me and you.

What becomes clear as you see the work is how the personal and professional are intertwined, and how that Look About has expanded to document all of this- the interplay- where the personal butts up against the professional. Edges also become very important- the edge of the rockface, the point where one material joins another; the more you look, the more the small interventions seem to be the important ones, where the pressure is greatest.

Hearing Jon speak about his work is when it really comes alive, and you get an insight into his coding and language he uses in his artworks, how the language which at first glance may appear to Latin and geological, actually relates to how he was travelling that day, who he was talking to and where he was.

My favourite point is hearing Jon using geological/ geographical language to describe the everyday- talking about the ‘harsh environments’ we are now facing, how things used to be ‘lush’ and where we are now is more like ‘a desert’ although sometimes broken with the joy of the ‘fortunate things the sea washes up’.

What do you expect to get when you ask an artist to evaluate something? It’s certainly not a report that will be filed on a shelf… Look About has gone beyond what was originally anticipated in terms of volume and scale and has burst it’s Accentuate boundaries to include projects with the Inspire Mark and as mentioned before, events from Jon’s life. I’m looking forwards to seeing the final outcomes, and an opportunity to share an overview of the Accentuate vista and surrounding territories - created from an artist’s viewpoint.

On my way back to the station I notice the signs for a nearby wine bar and restaurant ‘Platform 5’ have been crudely doctored to disguise their use of the old British Rail symbol (now used by Network Rail). Horizontal red lines now flank the wine bar’s name. My camera comes out, and I take this slippage home with me.

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Thursday 14th June, 2012

Camilla Brueton

Platform 5, Ashford, Kent

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