Room for Negotiation takes on the Herbert Read Gallery as an opportunity to explore concerns with spatial relationships, interdisciplinary practices, and the negotiation of space itself. It brings together the works of James Collins, Katya Derksen, Luke Godfrey, and Hannah Weatherhead. Drawing influence from increasingly overlapping fields of art, architecture, technology, (etc.), and their associated practices, it explores a sense of “spatial negotiation” by looking at the exhibition as a type of medium. The diverse yet interrelated set of works range from paintings to sculptures, architectural models and site-specific installations occupy the gallery, having evolved through a playful curatorial process. Luke Godfrey's sculptural structures re-articulate and re-invent detailing within brickwork, giving them a renaissance of purpose. Historical references to industrial production such as trade nicknames, present clues to the viewer hoping to reanimate the ways in which we inhabit the spaces around us.
The title Room for Negotiation makes reference to the functional elements of the gallery space and the discursive approach that has driven the construction of the show. It also refers to the increasing elasticity of definitions such as ‘painting’, ‘sculpture’, ‘drawing’ (etc) within contemporary practice, and the subsequent potential that lies in adopting such unprescriptive approaches to production and curating. James Collins' paintings and 3D models share the same theme, forming intuitive spaces composed of nascent geometries and architectural compositions. They explore the relationships between three-dimensional geometry, and it's compression into a two -dimensional image.
Despite their differences in form and approach, the artists’ works all discuss in some way a sense of preoccupation with how space is encountered and translated, through a layered creative process. Together they evoke questions about viewing - the experience of physically, visually and conceptually navigating oneself through a space (be it of the gallery, a picture plane or of one’s own practice) - and about the act itself of looking, defining and understanding. This is seen in the bold site-specific installations of Katya Derksen, which take over the space quite literally, climbing the walls and creating optical effects. Continuous lines allow for the transformation of the dynamics of the space, creating energy and rhythm. This denies the viewer the possibility of focusing on just one element on the work, drawing the eye back and forth around the rest of the space.
Hannah Weatherhead makes paintings in which patterns and forms struggle for attention, exploring traditional and modern subject matters, in response to constant changes in influences and trends. She makes use of a mix traditional and non-traditional mediums; wooden panels and canvas, aluminium, plastics and rope. With light-hearted titles, the works don't demand too much gravity, and they are grouped together by theme. All of the works shown play off each other, creating a visual conversation and new landscape, and the exhibition interrogates and inquires about space and the relationships within it, offering an aesthetic that is both aesthetic and functional.