Critics’ Picks

View of “Andrew Kerr,” 2016

View of “Andrew Kerr,” 2016


Andrew Kerr

The Modern Institute | Aird’s Lane
3 Aird’s Lane
November 12, 2016–January 21, 2017

Andrew Kerr’s exhibition is situated in the Modern Institute’s new Bricks Space, a single-room venue on Aird’s Lane which, unlike the gallery’s other white spaces, exists in a semi-dilapidated state, made up of a patchwork of painted walls, wooden flooring, exposed concrete, and tiling.

The atmosphere of the show is sober and scholastic, with the room’s contents resembling the trappings of an art-school classroom or a studio past its prime. Each of Kerr’s five installations is composed of a variety of recycled materials and often hosts the artist’s paintings in muted hues. The works play on and extend the collage-like qualities of their environment. Towamba v St George’s (all works 2016) consists of a board standing haphazardly on black metal table legs. Painted on one side is a caricatured screenshot from the British television program University Challenge, in which teams of four from two universities answer questions on various academic topics.

The television reference lends the other works a particular British flavor. Pasmova comprises a paper saw resembling a cricket bat, on which the word “pasmova” is printed, lying on a cut divan base. A large wall-mounted sea of blue fabric with a small island-like painting pinned centrally to it provides a backdrop to this. Elsewhere, a series of paintings on paper lie at floor level on a cardboard and wooden structure with a white paper fin, as if being shown in a critique.

“Wyndham School of Dancing,” as the show is titled, is an objection to slickness or finish, and the finality and authority they suggest. Bricks Space (a former glass factory) is the perfect complement to Kerr’s installations, as it too comes with a material history to acknowledge and employ. The exhibition’s enigmatic title itself alludes to a space for practice, development, and gestation. The works are obscure and often sad, speaking to both traditional British pastimes and an odd post-Brexit sense of isolation.