Wellesley Binding: In the Study

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15-28 October, Arts Inc, Hastings
By Gill Duncan

I’d driven two and a half hours, arriving with one hour to view Wellesley Binding’s exhibition, that should be plenty, but walking in I immediately saw complicated and demanding: Very large architectural scale and style; Black on bare canvas with effective pops of white to draw the eye.

I was tired. A naughty thought snuck into my mind: Can I be bothered?

Well folks, be bothered and start at No.1.

One hour was not enough for me; I went back the next morning wanting to give this collection its due and found:

This is work from an excellent artist.

Yes, I felt I was being tutored at times, asked to get the message.  Some pieces left not a lot of freedom to interpret from an inner space – where art resonates with me.  The work contains challenge to see and dislike our social dysfunction, particularly 14. with four hands pointing up and behind the observer; their index fingers like smoking guns, “watching shit happen and pointing it out”.

The cynicism and repeated marking of “darkness starts here” 10: denotes, “turning into a species of darkness”; “the terrifying VOID” is on your left just off the canvas, “Handrails everywhere to deter (defer?) suicides”…

You could be forgiven for feeling defeated by his threatening use of black, the shadows and specters. The beautiful and tragic hands in 7. are eloquent.

Then humour! In my favourite of the exhibition, 2. Study For The World’s Gallery: “there are no supreme beings but this is where they would stand.”

Laugh out loud funny: an inconsequential dribble says “just one of those things”, while fairly spitting at today’s commercialism with huge spaces provided for “tasteful Sponsors logos”. This piece is one big comment, “necessary surveillance will be very discrete”, but it also has all the elements that we unthinkingly respond to in art that we would hang on our walls such as pleasing composition, harmony of line and layers and layers of interest.

Clever, witty and thought provoking, Binding’s visual stories also create allurement that pulls you into his work. If you have to have colour it’s there upstairs along with the risqué and, at times, the unattractive with a feeling of… is ‘disgruntled’ the word I want?

On your way up the stairs pause to observe his treatment of the Horse’s head, (left in painting), 13. such delicacy expressed to me an appreciation of, and empathy with, this exquisite animal. What he does with pencil, chalk and his intellectual processes is more than polished and pertinent, it creates real beauty.

Open for two weeks this is not a distant event. This is a Koha for koha. Do go.

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